‘I just wanted to solve this problem for myself’
When Naimish Gohil, the CEO and founder of Show My Homework, created his homework sharing app for teachers, pupils and parents he says he wasn’t really thinking about creating a business – but now a third of UK schools use it. Video journalist: Peter Page
From school truant to pizza multi-millionaire
David Page didn’t quite bring pizza to the UK, but he did play a crucial role in making Pizza Express one of the country’s most popular places to eat in the 1980s and 90s. But his journey to becoming boss of the famous pizza chain – and owner of other restaurant groups such as Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Franco Manca – was far from conventional, and characterised by a penchant for doing things his own way. Now 65 years old, the serial restaurateur recalls a time when, in the mid-80s, he went to ask for a £2m business loan, only to be met with incredulity from his bank manger because he was wearing slipper-like espadrilles. In 1969 he was expelled from his Jesuit-run secondary school Wimbledon College in southwest London, for what he politely describes as “truancy”.7
British bed chain Warren Evans up for sale
British bed and mattress manufacturer Warren Evans has confirmed reports it is trying to sell the business. The firm said it had appointed restructuring firm Duff & Phelps to help it find a new investment partner. The company is currently owned by eponymous founder Warren Evans, who started the handmade beds firm in 1978. The firm said it expected to secure a deal by the end of March and that it had already received “a number of offers” from companies keen to invest.
Carillion scrambles to stay afloat
Carillion, the troubled services and construction group, will reveal a new business plan this week in a bid to avoid collapse. The company, one of the government’s biggest contractors, has issued a series of profit warnings in recent months. The turmoil has sent its shares tumbling by 90% since July. The HS2 contractor said it was in discussions about ways of reducing debt and obtaining new funding.
Firms may face upfront VAT after Brexit
The chair of the Treasury select committee has written to HMRC seeking clarification on what proposed new VAT rules will mean for companies. Legislation that plans to change how imports from EU countries will be treated after Brexit has been drafted. The Customs Bill will have its second reading in the House of Commons on Monday. It could force tens of thousands of firms to pay VAT upfront in cash to HMRC. Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury committee, said she would contact HMRC and will propose that MPs investigate the matter. As Brexit comes closer, “we are beginning to see the reality of how it will bite”, she said.
Aspall cider sold to US beer giant
Aspall, the cider brand founded in Suffolk in 1728, has been sold to the US beer giant that owns brands including Carling and Miller. Molson Coors said it wanted to make Aspall the UK’s top-selling premium cider and build on the potential of its vinegars. The UK is the world’s biggest market for cider, accounting for 45% of sales. Barry Chevallier Guild, chairman of Aspall, said the firm had been in talks with Molson Coors for more than a year. The US company had the scale and expertise to accelerate the growth of Aspall cider in the UK and beyond, he added.