CBI appoints new SME chairman: The Confederation of British Industry’s Small and Medium Enterprises Council has appointed businessman Colin Perry as its new chairman. Perry comes to the position at a critical time, with the design industry just starting to notice the effects of the strong pound on its exports. ‘Our most immediate concern will be to persuade the Chancellor to reshape his proposals for reforming the corporation tax in the forthcoming budget, to avoid hitting the investment plans of smaller firms,’ says Perry.

Perry owns Oldham-based microbiological laboratory equipment specialist LTE Scientific.

The soap opera of business: For anyone hooked up to the Internet, there is a great opportunity to follow the progress of a design business on a step-by-step basis. One-year-old direct marketing design consultancy Asylum has been chosen by LineOne – an on-line magazine run jointly by News International and BT – to feature in its start-up business section. Browsers of the site can access information on Asylum’s one-year history and current progress.Three hours access to the site costs 4.95 a month; unlimited access is 14.95. The LineOne Internet magazine also covers other small businesses, as well as news, entertainment and shopping. The site is updated every month and can be accessed on BT freephone 0800 111210.

The art of project management: As anyone in management will tell you, people are a difficult breed. Perhaps a new book by an independent ‘quality consultant’ will ease the pain. A Project-by-Project Approach to Quality by Richard Capper takes a practical approach to project management, explaining how to set up and manage a project and giving guidance on collecting and using data, piloting ideas and consolidating this information.

The text is supported by action checklists, ready-made formats and case histories. The book is available in hardback for 55, published by Gower.

The business of design: Business Link Thames Valley and the Chartered Society of Designers are holding a dinner-and-speeches session on the theme of Economy, Era and Design in the run up to the millennium. Speakers include Small Firms minister Barbara Roche, Design Business Association chairman Colin Porter and BIB managing director Nick Butler. The dinner takes place at Pinewood Studios on Wednesday 1 April from 6-10pm. Tickets cost 50 plus VAT. For further information or tickets call 01628 413.

Video-conference killed the travelling star: Any consultancy wanting to use a video-conferencing facility but without the necessary equipment could call the CYBAR video conference bureau in the Brighton Media Centre. For 100 an hour, plus call charges, an operator will set up the link and take care of the technical side of things. The centre is also linked to around 100 similar services round the country. For further details call 01273 384298.

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