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VideosCenturo Global launches Coffee With Centuro!
Start A Company, Hr +2
Centuro Global Launches Coffee With Centuro!

Our team regularly has insightful discussions about business news from around the world, sharing interesting opinions, fascinating insights and experiences over a cup of coffee and we thought why not turn this into a weekly chat show / podcast / vlog series?! We sat down and thought, what can we call this, and decided to name it after exactly what it is - Coffee with Centuro ("CwC"). In episode 1, Zain Ali, Ben Blackburn and Seraj Toefy (all of Centuro Global) sit down alongside guest, Shaheena Rasool from Oclas Group (a turnaround business consultancy) and discuss the Winners & Losers of COVID so far, and what struggling businesses can do to keep going and get through this pandemic. Check out the video here and let us know what you think! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCpiXXdDBwk 

ZAIN ALI, SERAJ TOEFY, BEN BLACKBURN Aug 25, 2020
VideosCoffee with Centuro - Episode 2
Start A Company, Hr +2
Coffee With Centuro - Episode 2

This week Seraj, Ben and Zain discuss the Big Tech Hearing in the US, TikTok's struggles in the US, and Forbes recently published list of the Most Valuable Brands in 2020. Seraj backs the slipper market as the next big opportunity, Ben suggests that Facebook may be better off being broken up leaving Instagram and Whatsapp as independent companies and Zain finds the US' much debated TikTok ban shocking and potentially illegal. Watch the episode here and let us know your thoughts!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpcAsnY7Vrc 

ZAIN ALI, SERAJ TOEFY, BEN BLACKBURN Aug 25, 2020
BlogUK offers citizenship to Hong Kong residents
Start A Company, Hr +2
UK Offers Citizenship To Hong Kong Residents

Yesterday, on 1st July 2020, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered the opportunity for residents of Hong Kong with British National Overseas (‘BNO’) status to settle in the UK and ultimately become citizens. This was in response to the National Security Law introduced in China, which is seen to violate the rights of Hong Kong residents and is a direct breach of the terms agreed when Great Britain ‘handed back’ Hong Kong to China.  This was the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ promise to grant residents of Hong Kong key liberties, as well as judicial and legislative autonomy, until at least 2047. This meant that while becoming part of one country with China, Hong Kong would enjoy "a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs" for 50 years. As a result, Hong Kong has its own legal system and borders, and rights including freedom of assembly, free speech and freedom of the press are protected.   What is the National Security Law? Pro-democracy protests have been ongoing in Hong Kong for over a year, with a fear that Beijing is overreaching with its role in HK governance and starting to breach the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ promise. China went on to introduce the National Security Law on Tuesday 30th June 2020, without any input from Hong Kong authorities. The law gives Beijing broad powers to crack down on a variety of political crimes, including separatism and collusion and it is feared that it will curtail the civil liberties of the residents of Hong Kong. Many fear a reign of terror and Hong Kong becoming a secret police state. Many Hong Kong residents will be looking to resettle elsewhere, and this new offer from the British Prime Minister opens up a new avenue.    What are the British settlement requirements?  BNO Passport holders in Hong Kong were granted special status in the 1980s but currently have restricted rights and are only entitled to visa-free access to the UK for six months. Under the government's new plans, all British Overseas Nationals in Hong Kong and their dependants will be given right to remain in the UK, including the right to work and study, for five years. At this point, they will be able to apply for settled status, and after a further year, seek citizenship.   What remains unanswered There are currently 350,000 BNO passport holders, and about three million Hong Kong residents are eligible for BNO passports. These figures exclude dependants born after 1997 and so the number of total eligible applicants could be well over 3 million. Many questions remain unanswered including, Will the UK be ready to take in so many Hong Kong residents? Will there be enough jobs? Will BNO passport holders have recourse to public funds? Will they be covered by the NHS? It is also still unclear if the applications made by BNO passport holders will carry any costs or if there will be any other special conditions attached to their stay.  China has also since retaliated and stated that it firmly opposes the British offer to Hong Kong residents and has urged Britain to stop “interfering”. We will have to wait and see how this plays out and the UK government will reveal more information in due course and we will keep readers up to date. For any immigration queries, get in touch with us now for a free consultation.

ASMA BASHIR, ALICE ZHANG, EPO YUEN Jul 02, 2020
BlogWhy You Need to Protect Your Intellectual Property: Copyright, Trade Marks and Patents
Start A Company, Hr +2
Why You Need To Protect Your Intellectual Property: Copyright, Trade Marks And Patents

Does your company have Intellectual Property it could protect?   Every company will have some form of IP that they own or can own, yet many businesses are not aware of some of the IP that exists within their company and do not know how to exploit it. “Apple reached a TRILLION DOLLAR evaluation in 2019, and 80% of that value arose from their intellectual property. So how can you make your Intellectual property bring value to your business?” In 2019, SMEs making legal claims to protect their IP increased by a massive 68%, with initial IP registrations surging greatly, demonstrating that more and more business owners are waking up to the importance of protecting their IP for the long-term. But where exactly do you start if you’re a new business owner and a novice to the world of IP? Moreover, what is the actual process for registering IP and how does it add value to your business? How to assess your intellectual property?   Firstly, it is wise to critically analyse your unique selling point and review what products or services you are creating and how you are positioning them in the market. This gives you the opportunity to assess what areas you wish to protect and identify where to develop the business in the future, ranging from logos, taglines and branding through to physical inventions, such as unique software platforms. Remember, ideas themselves cannot be protected. However, if you are concerned about someone sharing or using a particular idea, the best option is to create a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), which can be applied to any relevant scenario – ranging from the protection of sensitive business information to pitching a new product to a group of potential investors. What are the forms of IP?   Trade mark - Product names, logos and slogans Patent - Inventions and products, e.g. machines and machine parts, tools, medicines Copyright - Writing and literary works, art, photography, films, TV, music, web content, sound recordings Registered Designs - Appearance of a product including, shape, packaging, patterns, colours, decoration Register a trade mark or patent   Once you have critically analysed your IP, think about what you can trade mark or patent. A trade mark is any sign, be it a word or logo or even numbers, that represents your brand and distinguishes it from others. An easy way to apply for a trade mark is by submitting an application directly to the Intellectual Property Office, which can be found via the Gov.uk website. The process is fairly straightforward but requires thought around what exactly you want to be trademarked and what ‘class’ it sits under, for which you may want to seek expert advice. Once the trade mark has been listed, members of the public have a short time period in which to contest it and if no responses are received, the trade mark will be yours. Once you register a trade mark, you will be able to take legal action against anyone who uses your brand without your permission. Once the trade mark is issued, you can put the registered symbol next to your brand, slogan or its tagline to show that it's yours and you can take legal action should someone attempt to use or replicate it. Patents, on the other hand, are more complex and are designed to protect your invention and are only granted to inventions that no-one has ever thought of or built before. It is important to be diligent in what you are trying to register so that it does not infringe upon anyone else’s IP. Consider a copyright   Copyright covers anything that an individual or company creates. It can incorporate words (e.g. text for websites), images, photographs, and training manuals and is automatically created with no registration required. If a work is created in the course of employment, the assumption is that the copyright lies with the employer unless agreed otherwise. For the tech industry, copyright can also extend to code. Using this example, when code is written by an individual, independent developer, copyright automatically lies with that person unless it is sold or assigned to a client company. However, this would need to be agreed within a commercial contract. Review your intellectual property over time   The one mistake entrepreneurs or business owners face when trying to protect their IP is complacency. Have you developed a new product or service? Reviewed your branding recently? Or changed your tagline? When improving and growing your business, you need to review and grow your IP too, ensuring you have the correct trade mark, copyright registration or patent in place with each change and development. “Not taking the time to review your IP requirements on a consistent basis increases the risk of competitors being able to take and market key elements or USPs of your business and brand. This could be detrimental to both the growth of your business and its ongoing longevity.” Seek intellectual property guidance from experts   If you are looking for further guidance or advice, there is a wide selection of information and support available.  Contact us now for an IP health check, together with guidance on how to register your IP and where. Centuro Global can help you protect and monetise your intellectual property with legal advice, planning and application support for copyrights, trade marks, patents and design rights. We can create a strategy to add value to your company through IP both in the UK and globally. Get in touch for a free IP consultation. https://www.centuroglobal.com/contact-us 

ZAIN ALI Jun 18, 2020
BlogBLOG: Top Tips on Raising Investment During a Crisis
Start A Company, Hr +2
BLOG: Top Tips On Raising Investment During A Crisis

We hosted a thought-provoking panel discussion on Raising Investment During a Crisis on 20 May 2020. Our highly esteemed panel offered some incredibly valuable insights and provided many lessons for startups and investors alike. (A link to the recording of the webinar will be shared in due course - watch this space or sign up to our mailing list to be kept up to date). Read on for some of the main takeaways from the event. What investors are looking for The panel discussed the importance of a number of factors when looking for investment opportunities: Grit - A founder who can show that they are determined, have tenacity and can weather a storm will be the most successful. Just because COVID-19 has come along and impacted the world now, doesn’t mean something else won’t come along next year or in the future so you need to be able to demonstrate you can take on any challenge. Josh Romisher recommended the book “Grit: Why passion and resilience are the secrets to success” by Angela Duckworth as a great read. Trust & Integrity – Do not massage your financials to make them seem better than they are or exaggerate on your wins and successes. During the due diligence process your business will be laid bare and your integrity will be damaged if you have not been honest. Traction – With the current pandemic slowing business worldwide, the more traction you can show with your current business or a track record of previous successes the more likely you are to catch an investor’s eye. The less traction you have the harder it will be to convince investors to back you. Experience – The panel recommended that all founders invest in a startup themselves, even if it is only £500 or £1000, which you can do via many Crowdfunding platforms. Research companies yourself and track your investments as they grow. This will put you in the shoes of an investor and better equip you with the knowledge of how you should present yourself to potential investors. Sales - You need to be able to present well and capture the minds of the investors. If you can’t come across as convincing to investors, they will struggle to believe you will be able to sell your vision to your staff let alone your product or service to customers. Does approaching investors cold work? The panel also shared valuable advice on how to approach investors. Here’s a summary of their key recommendations: Peter Cowley – Warm introductions are always better than cold so make sure you network and befriend someone who may know an investor and can make the introduction for you. Target investors carefully and ensure you will be a good fit for them as investors typically have strict criteria relating to the companies they invest in ranging from sector, to growth stage, to founding team etc. Nicholas Russell – Think of reaching out to investors in the same way as reaching out to someone you’re interested in dating. Don’t just adopt a scatter gun approach and send the same message to hundreds of people bragging about how great you are and why they should pick you. You need to take the time to build a relationship and get to know each other first and offer them value. Tuba Terekli – It is very difficult to receive a response to a cold approach from investors as we receive countless LinkedIn messages, Whatsapps and emails daily with pitch requests and it just isn’t feasible to look at them all let alone respond. Building a relationship first is certainly key. How would you react if someone approached you on the street and started asking for things when you didn’t even know them? Do not start conversations by saying you are looking to fundraise from the get go. Build rapport, add value and then ask. Next Steps If you are looking to raise funds for your startup or require any advice on getting investor ready, or even more widely on business growth, do get in touch with us now. About Centuro Global Centuro Global offers leading business consultancy to help businesses go global. With over 20 years' experience working in legal services and management consultancy and an extensive global business network, we can help you scale your business and achieve your goals.  Services include:  Support finding investment and funding Helping businesses go global  Intellectual property advice  Start-up and Innovator Visas Business strategy and much more... 

ASMA BASHIR May 20, 2020
BlogThe Power of Partnerships - Nike & Michael Jordan
Start A Company, Hr +2
The Power Of Partnerships - Nike & Michael Jordan

The year was 1984. A rookie by the name of Michael Jordan was about to start his first season of the NBA looking for an athlete endorsement deal and keen to sign with Adidas. Along came Nike, a brand predominantly known at the time for long-distance running shoes. Whilst everyone recognised the immense talent in this rookie, Nike was ready to put all their chips on the table and offered him a deal far more lucrative than the bigger sports apparel companies such as Adidas.Michael Jordan had never even worn a Nike shoe at the time but was convinced by his parents to take the deal over Adidas, commencing the legendary partnership between Michael Jordan and Nike. The Air Jordan was born and the rest is history.NBA rules meant that players could only wear white sneakers at the time. Leveraging the fact that Michael Jordan played for the Chicago Bulls, Nike designed the first Air Jordans in red, black, and white. The NBA was not best pleased and fined Michael Jordan $5,000 every time he wore the shoes. However, Nike was willing to pay the fines and have the shoes stand out from the crowd. They predicted $3 million of sales of the Air Jordan in the first four years of the deal. Nike actually sold $126 million in the first year alone.Nike became a mainstream shoe, having previously been known mainly as a track running shoe, slipped into popular culture as the edgy must-have sneaker, and is now one of the most recognised brands on the planet.Michael Jordan went on to become arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, and off the field, he has also made $1.3 billion to date from his deal with Nike, alone.This shows the power of partnerships and how two new entrants to an arena can combine forces to make a massive impact. Sometimes, partnering with someone that understands your vision and can strategically help you scale your business is the key to long-term success.If you are looking for that partner to catapult your business to the next level, get in touch with Centuro Global today. We are on hand to help you scale into any region globally and assist with all your business growth needs.Business planning and growth have proved difficult tasks over the last few years. However, with the new year here, there is a sense of optimism in the air. 2022 offers not only a chance for business recovery but unprecedented growth. Is your business ready to embrace the challenge?  Here are 3 ways we can help you on your business growth journey successfully: 1. Centuro Connect   Our platform and network of global experts are on hand to assist you with all your expansion needs including: New Market Entry  Entity Setup Tax & Accounting Legal, Risk & Compliance Immigration  HR  Intellectual Property  2. Events  We host frequent entrepreneurial in-person and virtual events, workshops, and roundtable discussions designed to spark conversation and to provide new ways of doing business.  Keep an eye out for our upcoming roster of events.  3. Global Network  Expand your network by joining our global community of entrepreneurs, tech innovators, professional service providers, and other key players within the global expansion ecosystem, all ready to help each other grow and scale to the next level.  CENTURO CONNECTFor those looking to expand their business internationally, Centuro Connect is a revolutionary global expansion platform that empowers companies with the knowledge and expertise to trade in any jurisdiction globally.The easy-to-use, self-service platform will grant access to a database of business expansion blueprints, a global network of experts & actionable support. Sign up and start your global expansion journey today.

ZAIN ALI May 13, 2020
BlogPost Lockdown Return to Work Guidelines
Start A Company, Hr +2
Post Lockdown Return To Work Guidelines

Coronavirus has had an unprecedented impact on life and is primarily a humanitarian issue with healthcare professionals battling to save lives. Nonetheless, workplaces and businesses have been impacted like never before and after lengthy periods of lockdown, some countries are starting to ease measures. In light of this, some “non-essential” businesses will be re-opening and employees may begin to return to offices. Certain protocols will need to be in place and office life will not be as it was before, at least in the short term. This article will provide some guidance on some of the measures that will need to be put in place. 1. Managing staff numbers Given that the spread of coronavirus stems from close contact of groups of people, the return to work of staff will need to be carefully managed. Any return may require employees to be phased back in small numbers and over time. A phased approach is not only important for ensuring sufficient social distancing can take place in the office but also to minimise the number of people using public transport to commute to and from work at any one time. Staggering start and end times for work should also be considered to reduce the numbers on public transport at any given time, and prevent a crowded rush hour scenario. Timings could be segmented based on roles or departments. Choosing which employees to bring back to the office first is also an important consideration. If it is straight forward for some employees to continue working from home then they should be permitted to do so. Where productivity or physical space requirements are important, these employees should be phased in first. 2. Office Environment The government has already warned that social distancing is likely to continue for some time. This may be easier for some workplaces and roles to implement than for others. Employers must start planning for this now, as it may take time to get right, in order to be in the best possible position when a return to work for staff is possible. Key considerations include: Spreading work stations 2 metres apart. Minimising close interactions and meetings in small closed spaces. Limit the number of people permitted in communal areas at a time, such as office kitchens. Promote healthy personal habits including regular washing of hands Provision of masks to all staff and anti-bacterial stations throughout offices. Make use of PPE including plastic screens on office desks such as those used at supermarket tills. Signs to make social distancing easier to follow. One way systems on stairs and limiting of use of lifts to certain floors. Regular cleaning with cleaners operating throughout the day. Stagger lunch hours and encourage eating at your desk. 3. Health & Safety Employers have a duty to provide a safe place of work and to protect the health and wellbeing of their employees. Some of the office environment suggestions above relate to hygiene in the workplace. Employers will also need to review sick policies and share updated policies with staff. Anyone with COVID symptoms should immediately self-isolate and not attend the office for 14 days. Some employees may not want to return to the office out of fear of using public transport and being in public spaces. This may not be considered unreasonable and therefore employers should tread carefully in how they deal with this. In the UK, if an employee who refuses to return to the office is dismissed, then this may be considered automatically unfair under section 100 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. Similarly, if an employer decides to furlough such staff or reduce their pay and they subsequently resign as a result, then this may be considered constructive dismissal which may also be automatically unfair. Careful communication and open discussions with employees is key. The main considerations are whether an employee believes that COVID-19 poses a serious and imminent danger to them, and is this a reasonable belief for them to hold. This is fairly subjective and will be considered in line with government advice. 4. Back to work training Staff should all be offered back to work information and any relevant training to ensure they understand new policies, new hygiene requirements, what they can and cannot do and there new work hours. If you need help or would like to discuss please get in touch: hello@centuroglobal.com

ZAFAR MIRZA May 06, 2020
Blog4 Ways COVID-19 Has Left Entrepreneurship in Crisis
Start A Company, Hr +2
4 Ways COVID-19 Has Left Entrepreneurship In Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has been reported in more than 175 countries and territories around the world. As of April 7, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) had affected 1,378,937 people, leading to more than 78,000 deaths. It has shut down business activities around the world, bringing some sectors to the verge of collapse.  While governments and big companies are feeling the heat of COVID-19, entrepreneurs are definitely the biggest hit. The disease and the way the world is responding to it has left entrepreneurship in crisis. Small and medium businesses are suffering the reality, and there is a good chance that things will change for good even after the pandemic. Here are four ways the COVID-19 has left entrepreneurship in crisis: Emphasis Is Now On Survival Many entrepreneurs had serious expansion plans for 2020. Many had taken the necessary actions, signed the necessary contracts, and started adapting the strategies to become bigger. The reality of COVID-19 has taken everyone back to the drawing board. The primary objective of any entrepreneurial endeavor at the moment is to survive. This is a no brainer as there is no upside for any business that doesn't survive the crisis.  Revenue Has Been Hit, and Will Take Time to Get Back To NormalA few businesses who are supplying products and services that are mission-critical or enablers of remote working and lockdown living are still doing well in terms of revenue. For the majority of other businesses, however, revenues have been hit. Contracts with cancellation clauses are getting terminated due to the uncertainties about the pandemic. Entrepreneurs are no longer able to fully rely on their supply chains as it is becoming increasingly obvious that more businesses may shut down soon. Factories are closed and businesses with physical outlets have been forced to close as society is pushed into lockdown, cutting out most revenue streams. The biggest question is when will this end. There is a good chance that revenue will not get back to normal for most businesses in the next 12 months.   Raising Money Will Be Tougher Going Forward Funding will stall even after we see an end to the menace of the coronavirus. Limited Partners who provide the funding that goes into the VC pot have been hit, either through their own businesses or through stock market crashes, and so the pipeline of funding will be increasingly reduced.  Some investors will remain active, but we will likely witness smaller rounds of investments at lower valuations. Even for existing portfolio companies, the disruption of most business activities, and the sudden downturn in the market will cause a severe stall in funding.  Emerging entrepreneurs will have to think outside the box to get funding. That being said, many governments around the world are offering grants and funding incentives to entrepreneurs who can provide new solutions to a COVID-19 and beyond new world order.  Downsizing Will Take Center Stage As bad as this can be for some people, downsizing will be the way out for most entrepreneurs. This will be part of the survival strategies many businesses will adapt. Already, many employees have lost their jobs in some sectors. There is no way for things to get back to normal immediately afterward. Except for the very big companies, most businesses will have to do with fewer employers until they have recovered from the shock of lost revenues. Fortunately, many governments around the world are offering support schemes for employees who may otherwise have been made redundant, with the UK government’s furlough scheme a prime example.  ConclusionEntrepreneurship is all about adapting to the inevitable changes. This does not mean that entrepreneurs are immune to global pandemics like COVID-19. The novel virus and the disease it causes has left entrepreneurship in crisis in many ways, and the points above are the realities at the moment. There are nonetheless opportunities for new entrepreneurs. The global recession in 2008 birthed the likes of Uber, Airbnb, WhatsApp, Slack and Pinterest. Now is the time to seize the moment.  

ZAIN ALI, ZAFAR MIRZA Apr 08, 2020
BlogGovernment Relief Programs for Small Businesses Affected by COVID
Start A Company, Hr +2
Government Relief Programs For Small Businesses Affected By COVID

New governmental initiatives around the world are providing wider support for Employers, Businesses and the Self-Employed.This document contains a collated list of such relief programs for the following countries;Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States.You will find information relating to Tax, Financial aid, Employee Wages, Sickness support, and more.DOWNLOAD THE RESOURCE PACK HERE.Please share this with your network.Also, we have created a Linkedin group to discuss the challenges business owners and leaders globally are facing during the coronavirus crisis, and to find expert advice and guidance on how to manage the impact of these challenges - particularly as it relates to managing cash flow, legal compliance, immigration and team remote working.You may request to join the group here. 

SERAJ TOEFY, BEN BLACKBURN Mar 23, 2020
BlogTemplate - Company Guide to Working Remotely
Start A Company, Hr +2
Template - Company Guide To Working Remotely

Moving to a full remote setup, particularly in a quarantine environment, is a new experience for all of us, and one where we’ll have to be very deliberate with our actions and communication to make it go well.In this guide, we cover off a few things we especially want to look out for: communication, keeping the [company] community, and looking after our own well-being.DOWNLOAD COMPANY GUIDE TO REMOTE WORKING

BEN BLACKBURN Mar 19, 2020
Videos
Start A Company, Hr +2
Centuro Global Launches Coffee With Centuro!

Our team regularly has insightful discussions about business news from around the world, sharing interesting opinions, fascinating insights and experiences over a cup of coffee and we thought why not turn this into a weekly chat show / podcast / vlog series?! We sat down and thought, what can we call this, and decided to name it after exactly what it is - Coffee with Centuro ("CwC"). In episode 1, Zain Ali, Ben Blackburn and Seraj Toefy (all of Centuro Global) sit down alongside guest, Shaheena Rasool from Oclas Group (a turnaround business consultancy) and discuss the Winners & Losers of COVID so far, and what struggling businesses can do to keep going and get through this pandemic. Check out the video here and let us know what you think! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCpiXXdDBwk 

ZAIN ALI, SERAJ TOEFY, BEN BLACKBURNAug 25, 2020
Videos
Start A Company, Hr +2
Coffee With Centuro - Episode 2

This week Seraj, Ben and Zain discuss the Big Tech Hearing in the US, TikTok's struggles in the US, and Forbes recently published list of the Most Valuable Brands in 2020. Seraj backs the slipper market as the next big opportunity, Ben suggests that Facebook may be better off being broken up leaving Instagram and Whatsapp as independent companies and Zain finds the US' much debated TikTok ban shocking and potentially illegal. Watch the episode here and let us know your thoughts!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpcAsnY7Vrc 

ZAIN ALI, SERAJ TOEFY, BEN BLACKBURNAug 25, 2020
Blog
Start A Company, Hr +2
UK Offers Citizenship To Hong Kong Residents

Yesterday, on 1st July 2020, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered the opportunity for residents of Hong Kong with British National Overseas (‘BNO’) status to settle in the UK and ultimately become citizens. This was in response to the National Security Law introduced in China, which is seen to violate the rights of Hong Kong residents and is a direct breach of the terms agreed when Great Britain ‘handed back’ Hong Kong to China.  This was the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ promise to grant residents of Hong Kong key liberties, as well as judicial and legislative autonomy, until at least 2047. This meant that while becoming part of one country with China, Hong Kong would enjoy "a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs" for 50 years. As a result, Hong Kong has its own legal system and borders, and rights including freedom of assembly, free speech and freedom of the press are protected.   What is the National Security Law? Pro-democracy protests have been ongoing in Hong Kong for over a year, with a fear that Beijing is overreaching with its role in HK governance and starting to breach the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ promise. China went on to introduce the National Security Law on Tuesday 30th June 2020, without any input from Hong Kong authorities. The law gives Beijing broad powers to crack down on a variety of political crimes, including separatism and collusion and it is feared that it will curtail the civil liberties of the residents of Hong Kong. Many fear a reign of terror and Hong Kong becoming a secret police state. Many Hong Kong residents will be looking to resettle elsewhere, and this new offer from the British Prime Minister opens up a new avenue.    What are the British settlement requirements?  BNO Passport holders in Hong Kong were granted special status in the 1980s but currently have restricted rights and are only entitled to visa-free access to the UK for six months. Under the government's new plans, all British Overseas Nationals in Hong Kong and their dependants will be given right to remain in the UK, including the right to work and study, for five years. At this point, they will be able to apply for settled status, and after a further year, seek citizenship.   What remains unanswered There are currently 350,000 BNO passport holders, and about three million Hong Kong residents are eligible for BNO passports. These figures exclude dependants born after 1997 and so the number of total eligible applicants could be well over 3 million. Many questions remain unanswered including, Will the UK be ready to take in so many Hong Kong residents? Will there be enough jobs? Will BNO passport holders have recourse to public funds? Will they be covered by the NHS? It is also still unclear if the applications made by BNO passport holders will carry any costs or if there will be any other special conditions attached to their stay.  China has also since retaliated and stated that it firmly opposes the British offer to Hong Kong residents and has urged Britain to stop “interfering”. We will have to wait and see how this plays out and the UK government will reveal more information in due course and we will keep readers up to date. For any immigration queries, get in touch with us now for a free consultation.

ASMA BASHIR, ALICE ZHANG, EPO YUENJul 02, 2020
Blog
Start A Company, Hr +2
Why You Need To Protect Your Intellectual Property: Copyright, Trade Marks And Patents

Does your company have Intellectual Property it could protect?   Every company will have some form of IP that they own or can own, yet many businesses are not aware of some of the IP that exists within their company and do not know how to exploit it. “Apple reached a TRILLION DOLLAR evaluation in 2019, and 80% of that value arose from their intellectual property. So how can you make your Intellectual property bring value to your business?” In 2019, SMEs making legal claims to protect their IP increased by a massive 68%, with initial IP registrations surging greatly, demonstrating that more and more business owners are waking up to the importance of protecting their IP for the long-term. But where exactly do you start if you’re a new business owner and a novice to the world of IP? Moreover, what is the actual process for registering IP and how does it add value to your business? How to assess your intellectual property?   Firstly, it is wise to critically analyse your unique selling point and review what products or services you are creating and how you are positioning them in the market. This gives you the opportunity to assess what areas you wish to protect and identify where to develop the business in the future, ranging from logos, taglines and branding through to physical inventions, such as unique software platforms. Remember, ideas themselves cannot be protected. However, if you are concerned about someone sharing or using a particular idea, the best option is to create a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), which can be applied to any relevant scenario – ranging from the protection of sensitive business information to pitching a new product to a group of potential investors. What are the forms of IP?   Trade mark - Product names, logos and slogans Patent - Inventions and products, e.g. machines and machine parts, tools, medicines Copyright - Writing and literary works, art, photography, films, TV, music, web content, sound recordings Registered Designs - Appearance of a product including, shape, packaging, patterns, colours, decoration Register a trade mark or patent   Once you have critically analysed your IP, think about what you can trade mark or patent. A trade mark is any sign, be it a word or logo or even numbers, that represents your brand and distinguishes it from others. An easy way to apply for a trade mark is by submitting an application directly to the Intellectual Property Office, which can be found via the Gov.uk website. The process is fairly straightforward but requires thought around what exactly you want to be trademarked and what ‘class’ it sits under, for which you may want to seek expert advice. Once the trade mark has been listed, members of the public have a short time period in which to contest it and if no responses are received, the trade mark will be yours. Once you register a trade mark, you will be able to take legal action against anyone who uses your brand without your permission. Once the trade mark is issued, you can put the registered symbol next to your brand, slogan or its tagline to show that it's yours and you can take legal action should someone attempt to use or replicate it. Patents, on the other hand, are more complex and are designed to protect your invention and are only granted to inventions that no-one has ever thought of or built before. It is important to be diligent in what you are trying to register so that it does not infringe upon anyone else’s IP. Consider a copyright   Copyright covers anything that an individual or company creates. It can incorporate words (e.g. text for websites), images, photographs, and training manuals and is automatically created with no registration required. If a work is created in the course of employment, the assumption is that the copyright lies with the employer unless agreed otherwise. For the tech industry, copyright can also extend to code. Using this example, when code is written by an individual, independent developer, copyright automatically lies with that person unless it is sold or assigned to a client company. However, this would need to be agreed within a commercial contract. Review your intellectual property over time   The one mistake entrepreneurs or business owners face when trying to protect their IP is complacency. Have you developed a new product or service? Reviewed your branding recently? Or changed your tagline? When improving and growing your business, you need to review and grow your IP too, ensuring you have the correct trade mark, copyright registration or patent in place with each change and development. “Not taking the time to review your IP requirements on a consistent basis increases the risk of competitors being able to take and market key elements or USPs of your business and brand. This could be detrimental to both the growth of your business and its ongoing longevity.” Seek intellectual property guidance from experts   If you are looking for further guidance or advice, there is a wide selection of information and support available.  Contact us now for an IP health check, together with guidance on how to register your IP and where. Centuro Global can help you protect and monetise your intellectual property with legal advice, planning and application support for copyrights, trade marks, patents and design rights. We can create a strategy to add value to your company through IP both in the UK and globally. Get in touch for a free IP consultation. https://www.centuroglobal.com/contact-us 

ZAIN ALIJun 18, 2020
Blog
Start A Company, Hr +2
BLOG: Top Tips On Raising Investment During A Crisis

We hosted a thought-provoking panel discussion on Raising Investment During a Crisis on 20 May 2020. Our highly esteemed panel offered some incredibly valuable insights and provided many lessons for startups and investors alike. (A link to the recording of the webinar will be shared in due course - watch this space or sign up to our mailing list to be kept up to date). Read on for some of the main takeaways from the event. What investors are looking for The panel discussed the importance of a number of factors when looking for investment opportunities: Grit - A founder who can show that they are determined, have tenacity and can weather a storm will be the most successful. Just because COVID-19 has come along and impacted the world now, doesn’t mean something else won’t come along next year or in the future so you need to be able to demonstrate you can take on any challenge. Josh Romisher recommended the book “Grit: Why passion and resilience are the secrets to success” by Angela Duckworth as a great read. Trust & Integrity – Do not massage your financials to make them seem better than they are or exaggerate on your wins and successes. During the due diligence process your business will be laid bare and your integrity will be damaged if you have not been honest. Traction – With the current pandemic slowing business worldwide, the more traction you can show with your current business or a track record of previous successes the more likely you are to catch an investor’s eye. The less traction you have the harder it will be to convince investors to back you. Experience – The panel recommended that all founders invest in a startup themselves, even if it is only £500 or £1000, which you can do via many Crowdfunding platforms. Research companies yourself and track your investments as they grow. This will put you in the shoes of an investor and better equip you with the knowledge of how you should present yourself to potential investors. Sales - You need to be able to present well and capture the minds of the investors. If you can’t come across as convincing to investors, they will struggle to believe you will be able to sell your vision to your staff let alone your product or service to customers. Does approaching investors cold work? The panel also shared valuable advice on how to approach investors. Here’s a summary of their key recommendations: Peter Cowley – Warm introductions are always better than cold so make sure you network and befriend someone who may know an investor and can make the introduction for you. Target investors carefully and ensure you will be a good fit for them as investors typically have strict criteria relating to the companies they invest in ranging from sector, to growth stage, to founding team etc. Nicholas Russell – Think of reaching out to investors in the same way as reaching out to someone you’re interested in dating. Don’t just adopt a scatter gun approach and send the same message to hundreds of people bragging about how great you are and why they should pick you. You need to take the time to build a relationship and get to know each other first and offer them value. Tuba Terekli – It is very difficult to receive a response to a cold approach from investors as we receive countless LinkedIn messages, Whatsapps and emails daily with pitch requests and it just isn’t feasible to look at them all let alone respond. Building a relationship first is certainly key. How would you react if someone approached you on the street and started asking for things when you didn’t even know them? Do not start conversations by saying you are looking to fundraise from the get go. Build rapport, add value and then ask. Next Steps If you are looking to raise funds for your startup or require any advice on getting investor ready, or even more widely on business growth, do get in touch with us now. About Centuro Global Centuro Global offers leading business consultancy to help businesses go global. With over 20 years' experience working in legal services and management consultancy and an extensive global business network, we can help you scale your business and achieve your goals.  Services include:  Support finding investment and funding Helping businesses go global  Intellectual property advice  Start-up and Innovator Visas Business strategy and much more... 

ASMA BASHIRMay 20, 2020
Blog
Start A Company, Hr +2
The Power Of Partnerships - Nike & Michael Jordan

The year was 1984. A rookie by the name of Michael Jordan was about to start his first season of the NBA looking for an athlete endorsement deal and keen to sign with Adidas. Along came Nike, a brand predominantly known at the time for long-distance running shoes. Whilst everyone recognised the immense talent in this rookie, Nike was ready to put all their chips on the table and offered him a deal far more lucrative than the bigger sports apparel companies such as Adidas.Michael Jordan had never even worn a Nike shoe at the time but was convinced by his parents to take the deal over Adidas, commencing the legendary partnership between Michael Jordan and Nike. The Air Jordan was born and the rest is history.NBA rules meant that players could only wear white sneakers at the time. Leveraging the fact that Michael Jordan played for the Chicago Bulls, Nike designed the first Air Jordans in red, black, and white. The NBA was not best pleased and fined Michael Jordan $5,000 every time he wore the shoes. However, Nike was willing to pay the fines and have the shoes stand out from the crowd. They predicted $3 million of sales of the Air Jordan in the first four years of the deal. Nike actually sold $126 million in the first year alone.Nike became a mainstream shoe, having previously been known mainly as a track running shoe, slipped into popular culture as the edgy must-have sneaker, and is now one of the most recognised brands on the planet.Michael Jordan went on to become arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, and off the field, he has also made $1.3 billion to date from his deal with Nike, alone.This shows the power of partnerships and how two new entrants to an arena can combine forces to make a massive impact. Sometimes, partnering with someone that understands your vision and can strategically help you scale your business is the key to long-term success.If you are looking for that partner to catapult your business to the next level, get in touch with Centuro Global today. We are on hand to help you scale into any region globally and assist with all your business growth needs.Business planning and growth have proved difficult tasks over the last few years. However, with the new year here, there is a sense of optimism in the air. 2022 offers not only a chance for business recovery but unprecedented growth. Is your business ready to embrace the challenge?  Here are 3 ways we can help you on your business growth journey successfully: 1. Centuro Connect   Our platform and network of global experts are on hand to assist you with all your expansion needs including: New Market Entry  Entity Setup Tax & Accounting Legal, Risk & Compliance Immigration  HR  Intellectual Property  2. Events  We host frequent entrepreneurial in-person and virtual events, workshops, and roundtable discussions designed to spark conversation and to provide new ways of doing business.  Keep an eye out for our upcoming roster of events.  3. Global Network  Expand your network by joining our global community of entrepreneurs, tech innovators, professional service providers, and other key players within the global expansion ecosystem, all ready to help each other grow and scale to the next level.  CENTURO CONNECTFor those looking to expand their business internationally, Centuro Connect is a revolutionary global expansion platform that empowers companies with the knowledge and expertise to trade in any jurisdiction globally.The easy-to-use, self-service platform will grant access to a database of business expansion blueprints, a global network of experts & actionable support. Sign up and start your global expansion journey today.

ZAIN ALIMay 13, 2020
Blog
Start A Company, Hr +2
Post Lockdown Return To Work Guidelines

Coronavirus has had an unprecedented impact on life and is primarily a humanitarian issue with healthcare professionals battling to save lives. Nonetheless, workplaces and businesses have been impacted like never before and after lengthy periods of lockdown, some countries are starting to ease measures. In light of this, some “non-essential” businesses will be re-opening and employees may begin to return to offices. Certain protocols will need to be in place and office life will not be as it was before, at least in the short term. This article will provide some guidance on some of the measures that will need to be put in place. 1. Managing staff numbers Given that the spread of coronavirus stems from close contact of groups of people, the return to work of staff will need to be carefully managed. Any return may require employees to be phased back in small numbers and over time. A phased approach is not only important for ensuring sufficient social distancing can take place in the office but also to minimise the number of people using public transport to commute to and from work at any one time. Staggering start and end times for work should also be considered to reduce the numbers on public transport at any given time, and prevent a crowded rush hour scenario. Timings could be segmented based on roles or departments. Choosing which employees to bring back to the office first is also an important consideration. If it is straight forward for some employees to continue working from home then they should be permitted to do so. Where productivity or physical space requirements are important, these employees should be phased in first. 2. Office Environment The government has already warned that social distancing is likely to continue for some time. This may be easier for some workplaces and roles to implement than for others. Employers must start planning for this now, as it may take time to get right, in order to be in the best possible position when a return to work for staff is possible. Key considerations include: Spreading work stations 2 metres apart. Minimising close interactions and meetings in small closed spaces. Limit the number of people permitted in communal areas at a time, such as office kitchens. Promote healthy personal habits including regular washing of hands Provision of masks to all staff and anti-bacterial stations throughout offices. Make use of PPE including plastic screens on office desks such as those used at supermarket tills. Signs to make social distancing easier to follow. One way systems on stairs and limiting of use of lifts to certain floors. Regular cleaning with cleaners operating throughout the day. Stagger lunch hours and encourage eating at your desk. 3. Health & Safety Employers have a duty to provide a safe place of work and to protect the health and wellbeing of their employees. Some of the office environment suggestions above relate to hygiene in the workplace. Employers will also need to review sick policies and share updated policies with staff. Anyone with COVID symptoms should immediately self-isolate and not attend the office for 14 days. Some employees may not want to return to the office out of fear of using public transport and being in public spaces. This may not be considered unreasonable and therefore employers should tread carefully in how they deal with this. In the UK, if an employee who refuses to return to the office is dismissed, then this may be considered automatically unfair under section 100 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. Similarly, if an employer decides to furlough such staff or reduce their pay and they subsequently resign as a result, then this may be considered constructive dismissal which may also be automatically unfair. Careful communication and open discussions with employees is key. The main considerations are whether an employee believes that COVID-19 poses a serious and imminent danger to them, and is this a reasonable belief for them to hold. This is fairly subjective and will be considered in line with government advice. 4. Back to work training Staff should all be offered back to work information and any relevant training to ensure they understand new policies, new hygiene requirements, what they can and cannot do and there new work hours. If you need help or would like to discuss please get in touch: hello@centuroglobal.com

ZAFAR MIRZAMay 06, 2020
Blog
Start A Company, Hr +2
4 Ways COVID-19 Has Left Entrepreneurship In Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has been reported in more than 175 countries and territories around the world. As of April 7, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) had affected 1,378,937 people, leading to more than 78,000 deaths. It has shut down business activities around the world, bringing some sectors to the verge of collapse.  While governments and big companies are feeling the heat of COVID-19, entrepreneurs are definitely the biggest hit. The disease and the way the world is responding to it has left entrepreneurship in crisis. Small and medium businesses are suffering the reality, and there is a good chance that things will change for good even after the pandemic. Here are four ways the COVID-19 has left entrepreneurship in crisis: Emphasis Is Now On Survival Many entrepreneurs had serious expansion plans for 2020. Many had taken the necessary actions, signed the necessary contracts, and started adapting the strategies to become bigger. The reality of COVID-19 has taken everyone back to the drawing board. The primary objective of any entrepreneurial endeavor at the moment is to survive. This is a no brainer as there is no upside for any business that doesn't survive the crisis.  Revenue Has Been Hit, and Will Take Time to Get Back To NormalA few businesses who are supplying products and services that are mission-critical or enablers of remote working and lockdown living are still doing well in terms of revenue. For the majority of other businesses, however, revenues have been hit. Contracts with cancellation clauses are getting terminated due to the uncertainties about the pandemic. Entrepreneurs are no longer able to fully rely on their supply chains as it is becoming increasingly obvious that more businesses may shut down soon. Factories are closed and businesses with physical outlets have been forced to close as society is pushed into lockdown, cutting out most revenue streams. The biggest question is when will this end. There is a good chance that revenue will not get back to normal for most businesses in the next 12 months.   Raising Money Will Be Tougher Going Forward Funding will stall even after we see an end to the menace of the coronavirus. Limited Partners who provide the funding that goes into the VC pot have been hit, either through their own businesses or through stock market crashes, and so the pipeline of funding will be increasingly reduced.  Some investors will remain active, but we will likely witness smaller rounds of investments at lower valuations. Even for existing portfolio companies, the disruption of most business activities, and the sudden downturn in the market will cause a severe stall in funding.  Emerging entrepreneurs will have to think outside the box to get funding. That being said, many governments around the world are offering grants and funding incentives to entrepreneurs who can provide new solutions to a COVID-19 and beyond new world order.  Downsizing Will Take Center Stage As bad as this can be for some people, downsizing will be the way out for most entrepreneurs. This will be part of the survival strategies many businesses will adapt. Already, many employees have lost their jobs in some sectors. There is no way for things to get back to normal immediately afterward. Except for the very big companies, most businesses will have to do with fewer employers until they have recovered from the shock of lost revenues. Fortunately, many governments around the world are offering support schemes for employees who may otherwise have been made redundant, with the UK government’s furlough scheme a prime example.  ConclusionEntrepreneurship is all about adapting to the inevitable changes. This does not mean that entrepreneurs are immune to global pandemics like COVID-19. The novel virus and the disease it causes has left entrepreneurship in crisis in many ways, and the points above are the realities at the moment. There are nonetheless opportunities for new entrepreneurs. The global recession in 2008 birthed the likes of Uber, Airbnb, WhatsApp, Slack and Pinterest. Now is the time to seize the moment.  

ZAIN ALI, ZAFAR MIRZAApr 08, 2020
Blog
Start A Company, Hr +2
Government Relief Programs For Small Businesses Affected By COVID

New governmental initiatives around the world are providing wider support for Employers, Businesses and the Self-Employed.This document contains a collated list of such relief programs for the following countries;Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States.You will find information relating to Tax, Financial aid, Employee Wages, Sickness support, and more.DOWNLOAD THE RESOURCE PACK HERE.Please share this with your network.Also, we have created a Linkedin group to discuss the challenges business owners and leaders globally are facing during the coronavirus crisis, and to find expert advice and guidance on how to manage the impact of these challenges - particularly as it relates to managing cash flow, legal compliance, immigration and team remote working.You may request to join the group here. 

SERAJ TOEFY, BEN BLACKBURNMar 23, 2020
Blog
Start A Company, Hr +2
Template - Company Guide To Working Remotely

Moving to a full remote setup, particularly in a quarantine environment, is a new experience for all of us, and one where we’ll have to be very deliberate with our actions and communication to make it go well.In this guide, we cover off a few things we especially want to look out for: communication, keeping the [company] community, and looking after our own well-being.DOWNLOAD COMPANY GUIDE TO REMOTE WORKING

BEN BLACKBURNMar 19, 2020