Century IT blog

Unity 101 Radio Show – Quilley Dragons

June 10th, 2016


Radio Station

Unity 101 Radio Station, Paul Marsh’s (Dragon) winning student companies from Quilley School, Nicky Goodridge Assistant Head Teacher, Mr Pascal Gerrard (Teacher), Lily Arora (Unity 101 Radio Presenter) and David Vane (FSB Wessex) (SBGN)



On the 10th June 2016 Paul Marsh’s winning student companies from Quilley School in Eastleigh were talking about their experiences on Unity 101 Radio, a Southampton based Radio Station.


If you remember from the previous BLOG posts, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Southern Business Growth Network (SBGN) provided Quilley School students with some Dragons Den style tuition on forming a business, working out the market research, finance, marketing, and the final Dragons Den presentation.


There initially were around 200 Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 students from Eastleigh based Quilley School that took part in the Dragons Den event, with the most promising student companies actually presenting their ideas and company to a panel of Dragons who were owners of small local businesses who had donated their time to assist Eastleigh based Quilley School.


Sainsbury’s in Hedge End presented The Winners with gift cards and a donation was made to the school


Paul Marsh of Century IT Services was invited on the Radio Show as the most successful Dragon, scoring a hat trick with 3 of his student companies out of 200 students winning 1st, 2nd and 3rd places with their innovative ideas and first class presentations.


Paul says its not necessarily the final destination in this Dragons Den event which is of primary importance, but the experience and enjoyment of journey and of course the skills you have learnt that you would not have otherwise gained.


Listen to the recording of the Radio Show on Unity 101 if you missed the live show here

Unity 101 Community Hour Friday 10th June




Dragons at Quilley School – The Dragons Den

May 17th, 2016


What an exciting update to publish today!!


Quilley School Dragons

Quilley School Dragons, Lesley & Russell from Sainsburys, Nicky Goodridge Assistant Head Teacher & Angela Wright Partnership Director Crestwood College (incorporating Quilley School)


If you remember from previous Blog posts, the most promising and viable business ideas from each class were put forward for consideration in the final Dragons Den scenario which took place on the 17th May 2016 at Quilley School in Eastleigh.


This was a pivotal moment for each student company to hone their skills and further develop their Dragons Den pitch, with PowerPoint presentations and handouts.


The finalists were 14 student business ideas that were pitched to the Dragons.


Business ideas ranged from: –

Gym and Fitness Clothes Company, Wholesale pet supplies, a Company that made a Phone APP, Pet Photography Business, a Cube Prototype to help kids tell the time, Book Mark for Dyslexic people, Pet Sitting and Dog Walkers, Bespoke Perfume Bottle Company, Fruit Smoothie Company and several other viable business ideas.


Special recognition should go to the Bespoke Perfume Company whose Dragons Den pitch was the only solo presentation as the other members of the student’s team were out on a school trip. To stand in front the Dragons and the other students and give their pitch solo, was a notable and courageous thing to do.


Each Dragons Den pitch was scored out of 10 for the following categories: –

  1.  Business Idea
  2.  Business Planning Process
  3.  Marketing Strategy
  4.  Financial Forecast
  5.  Teamwork
  6.  Pitch


The winners and runners up were presented vouchers from Sainsburys and also Sainsburys made a donation to the school


Prizes donated by Sainsburys were presented by Lesley Powell and Russell Oakley who are based at the Hedge End Store, with certificates presented by Chris Herbert, Economic Development Officer, Eastleigh Borough Council.


After much deliberation, the winners can be announced as the following: –


1st Place       Book Huggers
Specialised kind of book mark which has different coloured overlays and a clip on light to help dyslexic people read

Quilley School - Book Huggers

1st Place – Book Huggers, Chris Herbert – Eastleigh Economic Development Officer, Angela Wright – Partnership Director at Crestwood College (incorporating Quilley School)



2nd Place       Bespoke Perfume Bottles
Bespoke and Individually tailored perfume bottles which can be designed online at the Perfume Company Website

Quilley School - Perfume Company

2nd Place Bespoke Perfume Company, Chris Herbert – Eastleigh Economic Development Officer



3rd Place       Fruiti Fresh Smoothies
Natural and free from artificial ingredients and preservatives made from locally sourced fruit and sold at sporting events and gyms


Quilley School - Fruiti Fresh

3rd Place – Fruiti Fresh Smoothies, Chris Herbert – Eastleigh Economic Development Officer


Paul Marsh Scores a Hat Trick as the Most Successful Dragon!


Paul Marsh was naturally pleased that 3 of his Dragons Teams were short listed to pitch their business ideas to the Dragons panel and the other school students.


And especially pleased when those students that were in his business enrichment group were all voted as the best business Dragons Den pitches in the school.


Quilley Certificate

Quilley School Appreciation


Paul says that it was recognised that all the winners came from his Year 9 Tutor Group and accepts that he had his part to play in this competition in ensuring his students stood a good chance of winning (which they did)


Although Paul also believes that the Group Tutor Teacher Mr Pascal Garrard deserves the most recognition, as he is the teacher which is with these student’s day in, day out, every day of the week and the students are a credit to his dedication to the profession of teaching.


Paul would also like to point out that each of 14 student company finalists who pitched their business to the dragons were winners in their own right as far as the Dragons were concerned.


Although some students didn’t win the Dragons Den competition this year, they deserved to be congratulated for their effort and ingenuity and should not give up on their ambitions of having their own company one day. In fact this competition has really shown that the students in the very least have the ideas and enthusiasm to start their own businesses.


Perhaps next year, they could tweak their business plans and re-present their business ideas to the Dragons again. As there were so many good ideas, and unfortunately out of the whole school there could only be 3 winners


The Quilley ‘Dragons’

Rayner Brammall (Desauty Ltd), Roger

David Vane (SBGN)  Robin , Simon Whitbread (SBGN) ,

Martin Samuel (Words Finance) , Terry Murphy (Grasshoppers Don’t Walk),

Chris Herbert (Eastleigh BC), Lesley Powell (Sainsbury), Russell Oakley (Sainsbury),

Angela Wright (Crestwood), David Pollard (FSB), Nicky Goodridge (Quilley),

Paul Marsh (Century IT)


Next Year

It is envisaged, that due to the success of this business enrichment activity which had the whole school buzzing with interest and dedication, that this type of event might become a yearly event.


So if you are a local business owner who can spare some time to tutor some students in business studies, please contact FSB Wessex, Quilley School or SBGN and leave your contact details, as all offers of help are gratefully received.



Dragons at Quilley School – The Pitch

May 11th, 2016


All Previous Classroom Training Had Been Leading to This Event


Paul Marsh of Century IT’s class of year 9 students consisted of 7 student business groups that had a split of both service based and product based business ideas


The service based student businesses consisted of the following:-Quilley School Dragons


  • Home Cleaning Business
  • Barbers Shop
  • Dog Grooming and Walking Service


The student product based businesses consisted of the following:-


  • Bespoke Jewellery using recycled materials
  • Special type of Book Mark which had different overlays and a light for dyslexic people
  • Tailored and Bespoke Perfume Manufacturing Business
  • Fruit Smoothie Company



All the previous classroom sessions have been leading up to this event, to prepare the students for a Dragons Business Pitch to win funding for their business product or service. As previously mentioned, Sainsburys in Hedge End have offered to put up the prize for the winning company


Students were naturally nervous and worried about their Dragons Pitch and presenting their business idea to their peers as well as the dragon


The dragons den pitch put forwarded by each student group was Impressive and it was obvious a lot of thought had gone into mechanics of each business


Each student business group had considered the company formation and company name, key people and roles, market research, marketing and financials. Bearing in mind the students have no prior business experience, each pitch to the dragon was impressive and reflective of the effort that has been put in by each student business group


In Paul Marsh’s opinion, all of his year 9 students were winners and likely to have successful businesses and it would be difficult to pick just one from the 7 potential businesses to go forward into the final round.


Paul didn’t want the Students whom didn’t progress onto the next level of selection to be deterred and they should seek to tweak their business plans accordingly. After all, although this is an educational game at this stage, there is no reason why each business should not start ‘for real’ if the students are passionate enough about their ideas.


Paul’s year 9 group was larger  than the other groups and it was decided that there possibly could be room to pass more than one student business through the the final selection


Watch this space for more information when we have it!!!

Business Dragons at Quilley School Eastleigh

April 24th, 2016

Quilley School Dragons


Over a period of 6 weeks starting in April 2016, Paul Marsh of Century IT Services and other local Business Dragons have donated their time to Eastleigh based Quilley School (Crestwood School) to assist the 200 year 7, 8 and 9 students with their school Enrichment Activities.


Angela Wright of Quilley school had approached both the Federation of Small Business and Solent Business Growth Network for assistance with the pioneering project to involve local business owners and Directors to help teach business skills to the students.


The aim was to draw on the Dragons business knowledge, skills and understanding, in helping the students develop a prototype product or service.


This would be accomplished by giving the students tuition on forming a business from their own ideas, writing a business plan to include both the branding, market research and financials, with the best student’s companies pitching their new start-up businesses to the team dragons on week 6 to secure start-up funds for their business idea.


Sainsburys in Hedge End have been very gracious and supportive and have donated some money for the students winning company.


Century IT’s had some very bright and intelligent Year 9 Students in their group


Their ideas for their businesses were a Dog Grooming and Walking Service, a Fruit Smoothie Drink Company, a Professional Cleaning Company, a Barbers, a Perfume Manufacturing Business, a Business which made jewellery from recyclable components and a company that makes and supplies novelty book marks, all viable and potentially successful businesses.


Paul Marsh of Century IT Services says ‘he believes these Student Enrichment Activities are a great idea and a massive opportunity for the students, by directing students towards success, building confidence and providing transferrable business skills will help prepare students for a working life beyond school by giving them the skills and encouragement to succeed’


‘It is highly likely that a large number of students will end up working for other local small businesses and hopefully a number of students will go on to start their companies.’


Unfortunately there is only one winner from each Dragons group and the final choice will be difficult one to decide with so many great ideas for business start-up.


Once the winning student start-up business is found, further updates will be published here.


A big thank you to all the Local Business Dragons who have donated their time to Quilley School:-

Paul Marsh of Century IT Services

David Vane of SBGN

Simon Whitbread of The Business Conversationalist

Max of Mobius Media

David Pollard of Arkenley Lane

Andrew Jenvey of AIMS Accountants


Useful Links

Quilley School Website http://www.quilley.hants.sch.uk/        


Crestwood School Website http://crestwood.hants.sch.uk/


Sainsburys Website https://www.sainsburys.co.uk/


Federation of Small Business Website http://www.fsb.org.uk/regions/wessex

Prince Edwards 50th Birthday at Minstead

June 27th, 2014

Prince Edward, Paul Marsh, Victoria Tolson

Prince Edward, Paul Marsh, Victoria Tolson









Prince Edward at Minstead

Roy Baker making introductions on Prince Edward’s 50th Birthday











Minstead Training - Senator

Minstead Training – Senator











Minstead Training - Donkey

Minstead Training – Donkey








Minstead Training - Gardens

Minstead Training – Gardens









Prince Edward - Tree Planting

Prince Edward – Tree Planting


I.T Suite Back in Business Thanks to Fundraisers

January 14th, 2012

Minstead Training Trust in the New Forest, Hampshire.


(Southern Daily Echo 14th January 2012 – Excited Students from Minstead Training Project in the new IT Suite.)



Southern Daily Echo 14th January 2012 – Excited Students from Minstead Training Project in the new IT Suite.



The Minstead Training Project has installed a new IT Suite with funds raised from a 3 Peaks walking and climbing charity challenge, where brave (and fit) volunteers had to climb Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Mount Snowdon within a 24 hour period.Minstead Training’s Roy Baker – Finance Director, Century IT Services’ Paul Marsh – Partner & Rick Burt – Partner


Ben Nevis is the highest mountain (1344 metres) in the British Isles and is located in the Scottish Highlands.


Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England at 978 metres and is located in the Lake District National Park in Cumbia.


Mount Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales (1085 metres), located in the Snowdonia National Park.


Century IT Services were approached for their specialist I.T knowledge and expertise (as well as their flexibility with working with charities) to advise and install the new I.T suite of Windows 7 computers and Microsoft Small Business server so there could be maximum functionality and benefit to the students.


Century I.T Services provides I.T Support, I.T Installation and Maintenance Contracts to businesses in Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Sussex





In addition, the I.T Suite can easily be used as an Internet café as well, utilising a shared broadband internet access with Skype and webcams. There are a range of learning applications and software as well as copiers and printers.
The I.T Suite is already in use by the students and staff as well as Furzey Gardens so they can produce signs and photography for Furzey Gardens based near Lyndhurst, Hampshire. The IT Suite will be used by students and staff to offer training and research. 


The Minstead Training Project was founded in 1986 and offers whole year round services in residential and day care and training in Work, Life and Social Skills to adults who have learning disabilites.


Since the Project started they have earned a reputation for our unique style of high quality care, commitment and excellence.


To find out more about Minstead Training Project, their 3 peaks challenge or the new I.T Suite, you can follow the Minstead Training Project on Facebook HERE


www.minsteadtt.org  www.furzey-gardens.org

St Loye’s Day – Employer Event

December 2nd, 2011

St Loyes


On 1st December St Loye’s Foundation opened its doors at its Exeter Headquarters to celebrate St Loye’s Day. They invited employers from across the country to say thank you for supporting the charity in offering employment opportunities for its clients with disabilities and long term health conditions.


Among the attendees was The Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor, Councillor Stella Brock. With St Loye’s 75th Anniversary around the corner in 2012, the annual event was a great reminder of all the people the charity and its supporters have helped over the years. A great time was had by all!


For more information on how you or your business could help St Loye’s please visit their website. www.stloyes.org.uk


Sy Loyes, Lord Mayor Councillor Stella Brock

St Loye’s, Lord Mayor Councillor Stella Brock


Century IT Services are pleased to have been able to support St Loye’s charity by providing work placement opportunities for students who are looking for experience working in a real business environment rather than just solely following an academic learning path.
We have been able to deliver a valuable workplace experience, mentoring students in how we deliver our Professional I.T Support, I.T Training, I.T Installations. We have mentored students so they can be comfortable and build confidence in their customer interaction.


Century IT Services provide valuable business I.T Help Desk Support and IT Network Installations services from our offices in Totton, Hampshire.





Who are St Loye’s?

St Loye’s Foundation is a national charity based in Exeter, Devon with satellite offices in Warrington and Cardiff. We offer over 70 years’ experience in training, developing and supporting people with disabilities or long term health conditions into lasting employment. We extend this expertise by also supplying other services to a wide range of service users and client groups




Paperboy Dreams of Yellow Lamborghini Gallardo!

November 7th, 2011


Darren Robertson – Director

One of Century IT Services Partner’s, Darren Robertson was lucky enough to have a mention by Wired Wessex, a Winchester based business networking and advice group who focus on SMEs in Hampshire.


Darren was privileged to have been asked by Wired Wessex for a review of himself and his business, Century IT Services for their regular Member Spotlight article.


Century IT Services are computer and network support company based in Totton, Hampshire who focus their I.T skill on improving the success, productivity and profit of other small and medium sized businessesBased within a stone’s throw from Eling harbour and Tide Mill, which offer a picturesque back drop to an appeasing Hampshire vista and a yachter’s dream.
Darren is an interesting guy, has a young family and a local small business owner with a dream based on other SMEs business success!


Read More Wired Wessex Spotlight



Eling Quay, Totton, Hampshire

Century IT Services Move to Totton

August 7th, 2011



Totton Mill House Offices

We have been consistently busy for quite some time and our I.T support company has experienced a very busy expansion phase.


We have found that Century IT Services has remained very popular with the local small business community along the south coast and we have experienced our busiest year yet.


In September 2010 we decided to move from the Southampton Science Park to a larger office at the Mill House in Totton, Hampshire, unfortunately within a period of around 12 months we had out grown that office too.


We found we were quickly running out space for the numerous server, computer and network installations we have been performing for new and existing customers and had also recorded a 50% increase with our support desk tickets compared to the previous year.


We had also been considering employing an I.T apprentice for some time but simply didn’t have the space to do so.


The 3 business owners having started their early careers as an apprentices decided that an apprentice would be the preferable method of recruiting additional technical resource and we could train the apprentice to use our methods of working.



Opportunity soon came our way and another much larger office in the Mill House Centre became available so in August 2011 we took the decision to move to a larger office yet again (luckily for us within the same building).


To give us greater capacity and flexibility we used the timing of our office move to make significant improvements to our phone systems and server systems and slicker remote and home working, we also invested in a more modern looking web site. (Tell us what you think)


Plans for 2011 – 2012 are further growth and expansion, our business is a service based business


We will continue to deliver the same excellent level of service which is difficult to find elsewhere.

Minstead Training I.T Modernisation

October 7th, 2009





Southampton based Century IT Services have recently helped The Minstead Training Project charity with a computer network installation and modernisation program which was successfully completed a few weeks ago.


The computer network project involved Century IT Services getting involved at the very beginning to understand Minstead’s needs and provide advice on IT systems.


Paul Marsh of Century IT Services says “we were more than happy to help out after being approached by The Minstead Training Project. We initially helped by providing IT consultancy services, specifying a computer system that would meet Minstead Training Project’s needs and importantly meeting modern legalisation.



Rick Burt, Martin Lenaerts, Darren Robertson, Roy Baker, Paul Marsh


This included modernising and improving existing systems whilst also employing new systems, software and securities measures as well as a secure remote and mobile working solution. As with any IT project, it was important that the modernisation was completed on time and to budget with minimal disruption to day to day operations as Minstead’s operations are a 24/7, 365 days a year service.”


Roy Baker, Finance Director at Minstead says “We are very satisfied with our IT System provided by Century IT Services and it actually goes beyond meeting our original requirements, is easy to administer and having received excellent training, again provided by Century IT Services. The benefits of the new system are being utilised by staff and students already – a great result!”


Century IT Services is providing ongoing computer and network support helpdesk services via remote connection and onsite arrangement.


The Minstead Training Project charity was founded in 1986 is situated in the New Forest (Hampshire), in the picturesque village of Minstead near Lyndhurst. It offers whole year round services in residential and day care and training in Work, Life and Social Skills to young people who have learning disabilities.



Minstead Staff, Minstead Students, Century IT Services (Southampton)


Photos taken by Carrie Bugg Photography


The Minstead Training Project
www.minsteadtt.org    www.furzey-gardens.org