Peter Shortt -Langharjan Estate




Sunday, Jan 15 2012

New enterprise groups tackle host of issues, and all over breakfast

Local Enterprise Partnerships are the Government's much vaunted replacement for the Regional Development Agencies, which were scrapped in the 2010 Budget.

The new Government funded groups are intended to be led by business, for business.

Since the concept was launched, 24 have been approved and set up.

Energetic: Denys Shortt is chairman of Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, one of the first such bodies to be approved by the Government

Over the coming months Financial Mail will speak to and visit partnerships across Britain to find out how they are helping firms.

Denys Shortt is chairman of Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, one of the first such bodies to be approved by the Government.  

Denys, 47, is an entrepreneur who in 1994 founded DCS Europe, a beauty company that distributes brands including those made by Unilever and Procter & Gamble to more than 70 countries.

The firm also sells its own range of beauty products called Enliven and turns over £130million a year.

Through the LEP, Denys hopes to provide local firms and entrepreneurs with the support they need to expand their businesses and deal with relevant issues, such as access to finance.

The partnership has held regular focus groups, targeting business sectors from farming to automotive, as well as forums on issues including planning and skills.

It also holds breakfast meetings for firms to tell of their concerns, while a conference in October was attended by 300 businesses. The partnership has set firms a series of five challenges, including between them taking on 100 apprentices within 100 days.

But one of the first actions of the partnership was to set up an Access to Finance group, which includes representatives from all the major banks, an accountant, a business angel organiser and an invoice discounting specialist.

Denys says: ‘We all know access to finance is a problem for many sma l l firms but we hope to change that by improving the relationship between banks and firms, and highlighting alternative options.'

Jane Scrivner launched her eponymous skincare firm alongside her spa appliance business Spapliance in February last year.

Jane, 47, and her partner Kevin McWilliams spent two years on research and development after receiving a grant and matched funding through Warwick University and the Manufacturing Advisory Service.

But as a start-up, finding finance to launch the actual business and products proved hard. The pair were turned down by High Street banks because ‘they said we were at too early a stage', says Jane.

Jane, whose business is based in Stratford-upon-Avon, contacted Coventry and Warwickshire LEP. She secured funding through Minerva, a business angel group with a representative on the Access to Finance group.

She now employs three staff and has plans for two new ventures this year.

Jane says: ‘The LEP has proved a great source of knowledge and sounding board for us. Best of all we now have the money we needed to properly launch our business.'


Read more:

16th November 2011

We are pleased to show the congratulations from the business community that our sponsor Denys Shortt, son of the late Peter Shortt has received. We were aware of his skills but this is further confirmation of his business acumen

Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership Chairman

                    wins national award

"On a star studded evening of entrepreneurs in London including James Caan, Julie Meyer and Will King - the Growing Business Awards celebrated the best of British Business.
Created by Real Business and the CBI in 1999, the Growing Business Awards are the most established recognition for UK independent and entrepreneurial businesses.
This year's event kicked off the first Global Entrepreneurship Week - where enterprise activity is being championed across the world.

A new award for "Local Hero of Enterprise" was won by Denys Shortt, founder of DCS Europe and Chairman of the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Declan Curry - presenter for BBC Business News - announced the award :
"Former England Hockey player, highly successful entrepreneur and proud son of Stratford-upon-Avon, Denys Shortt commits himself to a huge array of local community projects - from supporting the town's football club to mentoring business owners to launching an ambitious new project to place helipads on rooftops alongside accident and emergency wings.
The award was presented by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government who said :
"He is my local hero because of his work with the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership - When other partnerships were looking for guidance from the government he just got on with it."
On receiving his award Denys Shortt said :
"I have realised life is not just about making money - it's about helping others along the way."
"Being Chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership has been one of the most challenging but satisfying things that I have ever done."
"Leps are good news. I would highly recommend that business owners get involved. For the first time ever the Government is asking business leaders to help shape the future of our country"
Matthew Rock, co-founder of Real Business, describes the winners as "beacons of light for Britain and testament to the entrepreneurial talent, innovative thinking and business acumen that we have in this country."



Peter Shortt was tea estate manager at Langharjan Tea Estate - Naharkatia in Assam

You can see Naharkatiya on a google map - click here and search for "Naharkatiya Assam" then click on "satellite"

Denys Shortt his son has kindly provided some family photos from India - see below.

Please also see Wikipedia for details on Naharkatiya - click here

Denys can be contacted at his website - Click here

These are the memories of his father, Peter Shortt,  kindly written for us by Peter's son Nigel Shortt. 


The memorial service to celebrate Peter's life was held on August 18 2009

I wanted to share with you a few memories and thoughts regarding Peter Shortt, father, grandfather, husband and dear friend who sadly died at the age of 77 on July 17th 2009 after falling ill with cancer.

Here are a few of the things that were mentioned to me about my father:  

"He really does mark the passing of a generation"   "I trust your pa's truly engaging character and great charm stand out as guiding heirlooms for the next generation or two"  

"His interest in how things worked, especially people and his ability to enthuse others in a great learning experience was admirable and unique"   "A true English gentleman of a bygone era and he certainly made his mark"  

Dad mentioned the koi-hai website to me almost 12 months ago and I spent hours looking through all the various articles searching for memories of the time I spent in India as a child. If there is one regret I have, it is that I did not sit down with Dad and ask him to remind me of my childhood days in India.

My recollection of those days are very patchy, so please excuse the random snapshots, but I do remember that we had some wonderful times !  

Dad managed the Langharjan Tea Estate and worked for the Jorehaut Tea Company having joined them in 1956 - a year before I was born. He met Rosemary my dear mother, out there in Assam and from then began my memories of a childhood spent between boarding school in the UK and holidays out in India. I remember at the age of seven, the excitement of flying out to Calcutta with BOAC as it was then and being a member of the Junior Jet Club and getting my free tin of sweets. My sister Belinda and I were given special treatment by the air hostesses as we were travelling alone ! Dad would fly down to meet us and I remember staying at the Grand Hotel for a night and seeing my first belly dancer at an evening show at the hotel before we flew back up north the next day !  

I can picture days in Langharjan spent as a child experiencing everything from learning how to plant rice, to riding around the garden in a marvellous homemade train made I think from an old cultivator engine ! I remember endless acres of tea bushes and the smell of tea being processed in the factory. I remember Dad's love of horses and his tall polo boots immaculately polished and polo hat. I can picture swimming galas and film shows and Dad running a club shop and all of us making so many friends.  

Above all I remember our trips on the river in a houseboat made from an old army boat I think ! There was a speedboat too and the adults including my mother waterskied on the river. I recall that I was terrified of the huge whirlpools as our boat went over them and having visions of being sucked down into the depths. I can still picture the picnics on the sandbanks or rather these were more of a feast of curries and other wonderful dishes.  

Peter often talked about revisiting Assam and I would have been first in the queue to join him as an opportunity to reminisce would be too good to miss. After Rosemary passed away in 2001, Peter did eventually have the opportunity to enjoy companionship again when he met Barbara who he married a few years later. Sadly her time with Peter was abruptly cut short when he was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and died so soon afterwards.  

Dad - I thank you for all those wonderful memories !  

Nigel Shortt.


Langharjan - Managers House 2010