Kate Davies

Posts by Kate


£700,000 grant funding available for Solent based business growth projects

You can apply for a business grant if you are a business based in the Solent LEP area including the New Forest, Isle of Wight, Havant, Gosport, Portsmouth, Eastleigh, Southampton, and Fareham. Eligible projects with costs between £4,000 up to £100,000 can access 25% grant funding. Already in high demand, GetSet Solent recommends applying as soon as possible so you do not miss this great opportunity which is only available until 31st July 2022.

Business Growth Grants

The GetSet Solent Growth Grant is for businesses planning a step change in its operations, production, or engagement with customers. The money can be used to fund capital costs such as new machinery, equipment and other assets not funded through asset finance. The grant can also be applied to revenue investment, which includes activities like marketing consultancy, branding and website development, new performance improvement systems such as Client Relationship Management system and developing an app. All helping to increase your business turnover and create new job opportunities.

The grant awarded is up to 25% of your total eligible project cost. So, the maximum grant awarded under the scheme is £25,000 for a total project cost of £100,000. The minimum amount of growth grant is £1,000 with a total eligible project cost of £4,000.

“This is an incredible opportunity for businesses in the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership area,” said Nicola Wiley, Senior Finance Advisor for GetSet Solent. “Right now, we have growth grant funding worth £700,000 to allocate to successful applicants who fit the criteria for the grant scheme.”

“Getting a growth project off the ground can make a huge impact on the success of any business. The GetSet Solent team have finance advisors on hand to support you through the grant application process as well as experienced business growth and sales and marketing specialists to help ensure you make the most of the investment received.”

Redwood, based in Waterlooville, successfully applied for the GetSet Solent Growth Grant when Co-owner Richard Albon needed funds to help upgrade their current warehouse to hold more stock and improve efficiency within the company. They also wanted to purchase equipment, including a new forklift truck, and employ an extra salesperson.

“The GetSet Solent team were very supportive,” said Richard. “Grant applications require a lot of preparation, and it can be daunting but with the help of the GetSet Solent Finance Advisor we were able to complete the application with ease. They held our hand throughout the whole process from start to finish and our application for grant funding was successful.“

“Our sales and marketing strategy has always been at the forefront of our business activities and now with the opportunities that social media brings, along with the grant funding from GetSet Solent, we are set up to succeed.”

Interested eligible businesses must enrol on the GetSet Solent Programme to access the growth grant and get fully funded business, marketing, and finance support. Grants will end when all the funds have been allocated on a first come – first served basis. So, enterprises need to act NOW to ensure they benefit from this fantastic opportunity.

To find out more about the GetSet Solent Growth Grant and check eligibility visit www.getsetforgrowth.com/solent/grants  or call 0800 917 5411.

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YTKO wins Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2022

YTKO has been honoured with a 2022 Queen’s Award for Enterprise, one of only 226 organisations to be recognised nationally.

The awards celebrate the success of exciting, innovative businesses which are leading the way with pioneering products or services, delivering impressive social mobility programmes or showing their commitment to excellent sustainable development practices. 

Announced today (Thursday 21 April), YTKO has been recognised for its excellence in promoting opportunity through social mobility, winning one of only nine awards in this category for 2022.

YTKO’s 100+ team is led by CEO, Bev Hurley, CBE, who has previously won the Queen’s Individual Award for Enterprise Promotion in 2010, and is the current Chair of the Institute of Economic Development.

“Being honoured with the Queen’s Award is a wonderful recognition of the work and the impact that the whole team has achieved,” says Bev. “Everything we do is all about making a tangible, positive impact, changing the life chances of individuals, measurably transforming and accelerating business success, and contributing to the economy and the communities in which our business operates”. 

YTKO has helped entrepreneurs start, sustain and scale their businesses for over 40 years, through both strategic consultancy and hands-on operational support over the full lifecycle.  A relentless focus on creating measurable results has contributed to economic and social prosperity by generating wealth and jobs.

An independent evaluation of YTKO’s Social Mission concluded that over a 15 year period, covering recession, austerity, Brexit and Covid, YTKO helped nearly 31,000 entrepreneurs, and over 22,500 growing businesses.  This work, including the raising of £73m in finance, enabled the creation of over 10,300 new jobs and a conservative estimate of £691 million GVA for the economy. 

For new entrepreneurs, YTKO’s Outset service combines personal and business skills development, and focuses on the critical success factors for sustainable enterprise. Many of the entrepreneurs supported are from deprived areas and disadvantaged backgrounds – those most in need of effective support under the Levelling Up agenda.

YTKO are delivering the three of the UK Governments’ new Community Renewal Fund pilot programmes working with the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority, Devon County Council and Portsmouth City Council, in their respective regions.  These “Start and Grow” programmes help new entrepreneurs and early-stage small businesses get on track for success.

Bev says Economic growth must be really inclusive, otherwise the Levelling Up agenda will fail to make a difference to our left behind or underperforming communities.  Our track record proves that financial and social exclusion can be overcome.  We’re so proud that not only does the 3-year survival rate of our clients’ businesses outstrip the UK average, but that over half of them are women – and we support BaME businesses at 4x the average.”

For YTKO, it’s not just about starting and sustaining, but ensuring that existing companies achieve their full growth potential, which is why they deploy a suite of services tailored for every stage of the business lifecycle.  YTKO’s GetSet for Growth and GetSet Accelerate services are designed specifically to help small SMEs grow, and high growth scale-ups to accelerate their growth.  Through GetSet, we provide SMEs with professional 1:1 coaching and consultancy to help them overcome their growth challenges, masterclasses, mentoring, peer support, connections, grants and equity.   We provide high growth businesses what they need in order to scale and create sustainable, high quality jobs for their local economies.

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David Pratt & Louise Blunden – Eschmann Technologies

The Eschmann name has a long heritage reaching back to the 1830’s manufacturing medical and dental equipment in the UK. Initially established in London, the company has evolved through the years as a leading inventor and manufacturer of sterilising equipment including the autoclaves for which it is well known today. 

Eschmann Technologies now manufactures and supplies healthcare products and services to clinical professionals worldwide, both direct and through a network of distributors. With a strong family ethos, the company is led by Chairman George Kennedy, CBE, with his elder son Philip as Managing Director, and Philip’s brother George as Commercial Director. 

The business is now based at Lancing in West Sussex, the company having moved to the South Coast in the late 1940’s. It has a strong reputation as a market leader in its field and is now developing growth plans to expand their product range for the overseas market as well as harnessing technology to connect with its wide network of customers. 

It was these plans for growth which prompted the company to seek potential investment and David Pratt, Chief Operating Officer and Louise Blunden, Financial Transactions Manager explained to me via Zoom how the Invest4 grant available through The Business Hothouse Programme is helping them. 

“Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, we were busy setting up the systems and processes for the company following its transition to private ownership. We were also looking at which parts of the Lancing site we needed to make our operations more efficient moving forward,” stated David. “Many of our clients, specifically dentists, were closed for a short period which had an impact on our business, but luckily, most opened again although demand for our product and maintenance service was temporarily reduced.”

Louise was the person responsible for co-ordinating their application for an Invest4 grant and both she and David attended a number of workshops run by GetSet for Growth Coast to Capital to help them prepare the paperwork. “As an established company, who had previously been owned by a large corporation, we already had many of the required documents in place, but it was fascinating to hear the experience and views of other businesses also engaged in the process,” said Louise. “What was invaluable about the support from GetSet for Growth Coast to Capital was the knowledge and advice shared by Nicola Wiley, the Programme Director – she helped us to ensure that we had the right level of detail and how to present the information on our application.”

David explained that the availability of the Invest4 grant gave them the impetus to put their growth plans in place. “It forced us to bring the timetable for the project forward, which has been a good thing as it will enable us to bring to market the new product developments sooner than previously anticipated.” He also praised the support provided through the 1:1 sessions with Nicola which assisted them through the whole process, and in August 2021, they were awarded their grant. “It was a real team effort with a strict deadline helping to make us focus on what we really wanted to achieve in terms of growth as a company,” he added. 

With the grant money, the company have plans to develop two projects – the first is to develop a new version of one of their leading autoclaves with a voltage suitable for the overseas market, which they are keen to enter. “We hope to make our products available to more markets as well as increase our market share in the UK,” explained David. 

Little Sister SES 3020B Autoclave

The other project is based around developing the software to enable the readings from their machines to be stored in the Cloud, enabling easier access for customers and the company itself to provide a more efficient and accurate record of performance by the machines, as well as speed up recording and improve the ability to diagnose faults. There will also be a web portal developed as part of this project where records can be stored and training resources made available. “This will give us more sophistication in the service we provide for both the UK and overseas markets and enable us to grow more effectively – thanks to the Invest4 grant,” commented David. 

The company has recently launched a new website which has a clearer offering for its customers, focusing on key areas of the business and the benefits they bring. David stated, “We would have worked on the two projects anyway but the application process galvanised us to work faster towards our objectives and the support available will really help us to achieve our plans in a shorter time-frame.”

The projects are now underway and whilst David and Louise reflect that the process has been demanding, it has been worth the effort, in order to kick start the company’s plans. “We would probably have still been in the planning stage,” admits David, “but now we are at a really exciting stage of product development and feeling confident about our growth plans going forward.”  

For more information about Eschmann Technologies, visit their website or follow them on FacebookTwitter LinkedIn and YouTube

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Nina Squire – The Pastel Artist

When the pandemic hit, pastel artist Nina Squire, from Blandford, knew she’d have to change her way of working and fast – suddenly the professional artist of 20 years couldn’t go to the shows she loved so much, meaning less commission work, so she pivoted her business to go online.

She said: “Suddenly everything changed, and I had to quickly learn lots of new technology fast. Luckily, I think we were all learning at that point, so everyone understood if there was a technical issue.”

Nina was accepted as an Associate Artist with Unison Colour, a UK-based handmade pastel producer, during Lockdown One. This led to her workshops being given a global platform. She will soon be travelling to London to represent Unison Colour as part of a series of videos on art techniques for a series of ‘in conversation with’ workshops with Jackson’s Art.

Stuck inside during Lockdown One, Nina started streaming live draw-alongs, where she would draw her favourite views, so that people could join her and draw with her. The idea was so popular that Nina has been able to pivot her business and now has a thriving community of budding artists from across the world.

She said: “It’s been wonderful to see this community develop and watch their amazing art works come to life. It has been brilliant to bring a bit of joy to people’s lives throughout the past year. Lots of people have said how much they enjoy my workshops each week. It’s given people a bit of escapism – it’s a lovely activity to get lost in for a few hours”

With all the new skills she had to learn and needing to suddenly restructure her work and have a shop on her website, Nina reached out to Get Set for Growth East Dorset for help and advice. Through one-to-one mentoring Nina was able to get help and advice about how best to change her website so that she could use it to sell her art courses through.

She said: “It was really helpful, having someone else to listen, bounce ideas off and get advice from has been brilliant. It gives you a different perspective and that’s what you need.”

Whereas before Nina would teach 15 people in a village hall in Wimborne, now she regularly teaches hundreds online from as far away as New Zealand, California and Australia. She also has regulars from Dorset joining in or watching back later. She said: “I think people love the convenience of being able to do art from the comfort of their home at a time that suits them. I love to see everyone’s work in the community group.”

For more information about Nina’s workshops visit thepastelartist.co.uk. For more information, free mentoring, workshops and events, visit getsetforgrowth.com/east-dorset

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Julia Sheppard – Jazz Jurassica

Jazz Jurassica founder Julie Sheppard. Please credit: Julie Sheppard and Jazz Jurassica.

Mentoring through GetSet for Growth helped festival organiser Julie Sheppard to find clarity and see her business from a fresh perspective.

Julie, is the founder of Jazz Jurassica in Lyme Regis. This year’s event was the first music festival in front of a live audience to be put on in the UK following Covid. An incredible feat that Julie puts down to not having big financial investments to pay. Even as she had to cancel 2020’s festival, Julie was thinking about how to make 2021 socially distanced and Covid secure.

Julie worked with mentor Sarah Veakins from the GetSet for Growth East Dorset programme, which offers businesses looking to grow, 12 hours of free 1:1 mentoring and advice, as well as workshops and events. The programme is part of the Dorset Growth Partnership and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Julie said: “I work on my own, and I work well on my own, but actually as the festival got bigger and with Covid to deal with I thought; ‘It is a lot of responsibility for one unpaid volunteer to take on – I could do with a bit of support.’ I think it’s important to have someone to bounce ideas off and provide perspective. Mentoring helped me see through the other end of the telescope – it gave me another perspective.”

This is just one example of over 22,500 businesses that have been assisted by YTKO’s services since 2006.  According to an independent impact assessment commissioned in 2020, YTKO’s support has enabled the creation of 6,574 businesses, over 10,500 sustainable new jobs and an estimated £2.61bn in sales income.  The businesses that have received support in that time, have also been proved to be fitter and better funded with over 76% of new firms surviving more than three years and having raised around £71.3m of growth finance.

For free help to grow your business, visit getsetforgrowth.com/east-dorset  For more information about Jazz Jurassica visit jazzjurassica.co.uk

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Tom Kennedy – The Crop

When Tom Kennedy and his family moved to Bournemouth last year, they didn’t know anyone. Thanks to GetSet for Growth East Dorset Tom was able to meet other business owners and entrepreneurs.

He said the support from the business development service had been invaluable when relocating his business. Tom, 36, owns and runs The Crop, a collective of talented freelancers and creatives who come together, like “The A Team”, to take on a variety of projects. Their projects have included work for Adidas, Nintendo and Bombay Sapphire. Tom originally set up the company in London about four years ago. Last November he moved with his wife and daughter to Pokesdown in Bournemouth.

Tom Kennedy

Tom connected with GetSet East Dorset to find out more about the business community. He said: “Sarah and the team have given me a great grounding in the area and helped me meet people in the business community through their workshops and events. They have given me solid advice and it’s great to be able to talk through ideas face-to-face. They are a great sounding board and a fantastic resource.”

The GetSet for Growth East Dorset programme offers businesses looking to grow, 12 hours of free 1:1 mentoring and advice, as well as workshops and events. The programme is part of the Dorset Growth Partnership and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Tom added that Bournemouth was a great location for creatives. He said: “I see Bournemouth as a really exciting place to be over the next 20 years – it’s going to be really interesting to see how the town develops. There are so many opportunities for people to be out of London but still doing really interesting projects.”

Originally from Bristol, Tom moved to Australia at 11 – as his parents are both Australian. He then returned to the UK for university, before moving back to Sydney for five years. He said his plan had always been to live outside London with his family and they had fallen in love with Dorset.

This is just one example of over 22,500 businesses that have been assisted by YTKO’s services since 2006.  According to an independent impact assessment commissioned in 2020, YTKO’s support has enabled the creation of 6,574 businesses, over 10,500 sustainable new jobs and an estimated £2.61bn in sales income.  The businesses that have received support in that time, have also been proved to be fitter and better funded with over 76% of new firms surviving more than three years and having raised around £71.3m of growth finance.

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Nom Wholefoods – delivering plastic free whole foods in Bristol

Nom Wholefoods is a plastic free wholefoods delivery service, which delivers throughout East Bristol and parts of South Gloucestershire. Founder, Nikki Watten, runs the business out of her home in Fishponds.

Nikki wanted a local solution for sourcing ethically grown food and reducing her plastic use. However, on researching possibilities, she quickly realised that whilst there were some solutions in other parts of Bristol, there was nothing local to her. Therefore, in 2019 she decided to instigate the change she wanted to see and start up her own business, Nom Wholefoods.

Since 2019 Nom Wholefoods has been growing steadily. But as their customer base grows, the space in the house is starting to shrink. Nikki says, ‘’Now we are at the point where it’s time to expand. Many customers have said they would like an actual shop to visit as well as having the option of deliveries and click and collect.’’

Nom Wholefoods

Nikki enrolled on to the North and East Bristol Enterprise Support Programme to help her gain new skills in business. Enrolling in the programme meant that she could access learning resources for growing a business; including 1:1s with business consultants, workshops and an online learning platform. 

Speaking on her experience so far Nikki states; ‘’I’ve joined two workshops so far, both of which were marketing related. I enjoyed them and both have been really useful. The trainer was very knowledgeable and open to all kinds of questions. It was also good to be part of a group and hear about challenges faced by other businesses and how they do things.’’

Armed with the new knowledge on marketing, support on business strategy and more, we’re confident that Nikki is going to achieve all of her business goals. When asked about the support on offer Nikki said, ‘’As most entrepreneurs at the start of their journey, I do everything for the business so don’t usually have time to do proper training and research. It’s been very helpful to get outside perspectives.’’

The help from this government funded support couldn’t have come at a better time. The future for Nom is extremely promising as Nikki tells us, ‘’We will be opening a shop in Staple Hill before the end of the year. We are also in discussion with UWE to deliver to the students at Frenchay and Glenside campus’s next year.’

Learn more about Nom Wholefoods at nomwholefoods.co.uk

If you think an outside perspective on your business could be helpful, if you want to check you don’t have blindspots in your business strategy, or if you just want to be part of a community of like-minded entrepreneurs, then visit our website to find out more and enrol on our programme. Or get in touch with the team to tell us about your business plans: nebes@ytko.com

North and East Bristol Enterprise Support is fully funded by Bristol City Council and West of England Combined Authority under Universal Business Support. Running until March 2023, the programme is offering workshops in marketing, finance, branding, business planning and strategy and much more, as well as providing free access to e-learning platforms, 1:1 advisor support and networking groups. 

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Helping businesses to be more sustainable

Twelve Futures are a sustainability consultancy who help organisations respond to the climate and ecological crisis that we face. They are based at Gather Round in the Cigar Factory on Raleigh Road in Southville, Bristol. Ellie Austin and Jessica Farrow, both Co-Founders and Co-Directors love being there and believe that it’s a fantastic, creative, and independent community full of wonderful businesses. 

Having moved to Bristol after University over a decade ago, Jessica also sits on a few different advisory boards, including the Bristol Green Capital Partnership Board as well as the One City Environment Board so is very embedded in the work that is happening at a city level in climate and ecological action. She is “really excited to bring more of their expertise of Twelve Futures into those conversations.” They also both sit as Mentors on an initiative ran by Catalyst to Change, which is all about helping young women into sustainability careers. Therefore, it’s safe to say that they live and breathe sustainability and contributing to the improvement of Bristol, as well as the natural world around us.

Through their business Twelve Futures, they help businesses create climate action plans and strong sustainability strategies that recognise the climate and ecological crisis. They believe that it “really reflects the ambition of Bristol as a city, as the first city to declare climate and ecological emergencies.” After launching their business in 2018, they look back on their journey in a positive light. They recognise the difficulties that everyone faced through the pandemic but feel as though they have come out the other end stronger. They state: 

“In some ways it’s really changed the way that we work and in other ways it’s meant that a lot of people have become even more aware of the agenda and the area that we work in. A lot of people have increased their appreciation of nature and green spaces and taken the time to dial away from their normal day to day life. Additionally, I think it’s been interesting because a lot of people really struggled in the beginning of the pandemic with working remotely and working from home. As sustainability consultants and freelancers, we’ve always advocated working remotely and we very much are used to working in that way.”

They also note that it’s positively impacted their business through reducing the amount of travel miles that they used to take for meetings via train and the Eurostar. They’ve supported their clients to grow more confident in video technology which they feel they’ve all seen the benefit of. 

Ellie and Jessica first encountered GetSet for Growth through South Bristol Enterprise Support with the hopes of figuring out how to grow and scale their business. They’ve always “had a clear sense of the long-term impact that they wanted to have both through the work that they do with their clients and as a company.” However, they were “trying to understand how to best grow their business and think about who else they can work with, who else they can bring on and how they can continue to be profitable in the future. Furthermore, how to grow in a way that feels natural and right to them.”

Through their support with GetSet for Growth, they have been able to shape the future of their business and gain clarity on what they want to do, and how they want to grow and scale their business. In addition, they state that it “has helped us explore lots of different models for doing that and really think about what works for us. It’s also helped us think clearly about how we can get more support and how we can bring other people into the business. We did a lot of resource planning during our sessions, and we’ve recently brought on our first new member of staff. We have a summer intern starting with us this year which is really exciting and gives us a lot of potential to grow our business and support our clients moving forward.” They have also benefited from advice surrounding task prioritisation and appropriate delegation and are “continuing the legacy of what they’ve learnt through their coaching through GetSet for Growth.”

Looking to the future, Ellie and Jessica are excited at the fact that they order book is full for the foreseeable. They’ve got some fantastic clients and project planned so are going to be very busy for the duration of 2021. They’re in the process of becoming B Corp certified which means they’re going to be a force for good, something that they support other businesses with on a regular basis as part of their service offering. This will enable them to go beyond the support they can offer businesses by “thinking about how they can use some of the profits that they make to give back to charity and local communities in Bristol too.”

They’re also really excited about welcoming the intern that they’re taking on through the Catalyse to Change network as a reinforcement for their ambitions to work “closely with those organisations to create more opportunities for young people. As well as work with local organisations to help action on the climate and ecological crisis given that we have such strong and ambitious climate and ecological targets here in Bristol.” They feel it’s the best place to be for them!

If you would like to hear more about Ellie, Jessica, or their joint venture in Twelve Futures, you can access their website here or follow them on Twitter or LinkedIn

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Charlotte Osborne & Chris Dolan – Prolific 10

“A straight-talking marketing and communications agency and HubSpot Solutions Partner that is committed to helping clients grow their businesses by attracting new customers” is how business partners Charlotte Osborne and Chris Dolan describe their company, Prolific 10, to me when we met via Zoom. 

Chris initially set up the business in 2019 in Brighton and he was joined by Charlotte in September 2020 – the two had worked together previously at a PR agency. Both possess a very different but complementary set of skills, which allows them to offer a full suite of digital and content solutions to their clients. The name of the company comes from Chris’ love of Tottenham Hotspur FC and their “prolific” goal scorer Harry Kane, who wears the number 10 shirt. 

“We always had ambitions to go it alone, but a range of things held us back initially. However, now we are working together, we really appreciate having each other on-hand to discuss ideas, address any issues, and offer support generally,” says Charlotte. 

A key unique selling point for Prolific 10 is that they are an official HubSpot Solutions Partner, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system which allows businesses to bring all aspects of their sales and marketing activity into one place. “This allows us to have an edge on other companies as we take a more integrated approach to marketing and sales campaign activity,” adds Charlotte. 

It was a successful application for an Invest4 grant, assisted by the team at GetSet for Growth Coast to Capital, which enabled Prolific 10 to invest fully into the HubSpot system – a vital tool to attract and service both current and future clients. “The grant provided a fantastic opportunity for us,” stated Chris. “It meant that we could differentiate ourselves in a very crowded market of agencies, whilst giving us the confidence to commit to match-funding to further invest in the business.” 

With the grant recently awarded, Charlotte and Chris are now busy putting their plans into place and helping current clients to onboard the HubSpot system, creating an additional revenue stream alongside their traditional marketing activity.

“We initially heard about the Invest4 grants available through GetSet for Growth Coast to Capital as part of The Business Hothouse on LinkedIn. We got in touch to find out how they could help our business,” says Charlotte. “The team were really helpful and were able to provide tons of information and advice based on their experience.” 

“It was incredibly helpful to have a fresh pair of eyes on our grant application and to support us with the financial planning and documents that were required,” said Charlotte. “We knew that HubSpot was key to our success in helping our clients grow. That’s why we wanted to invest fully in the software and the Invest4 grant helped us to do just that.” 

The pair are very keen to grow their business and are looking to recruit more staff to broaden their service offering even further, but at present they describe themselves as “having their heads down working to develop a firm foundation for the business”. They have seen an increase in people returning to work and more businesses opening after the restraints of lockdown which has brought more enquiries to Prolific10. 

“We’re really looking forward to helping businesses to get their marketing and sales activity working again and thanks to the Invest4 grant, we have the best system to do just that,” states Charlotte. Looking ahead, they are also hoping to build a local community for HubSpot knowledge sharing in Brighton & Hove. 

For more information on Prolific10, click here to visit their website 

Follow them on Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Instagram   

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Rebecca Dowdy & Scott Blott – Castle Construction

Husband and wife team, Rebecca Dowdy and Scott Blott met in 1997 after she moved to the South Coast to join the Ericsson graduate programme after completing her engineering degree. Fast forward to 2004 and with support from Rebecca, Scott founded Castle Construction while she developed a management career in telecoms and IT for large corporates. Three children later and while working for American Express, Rebecca was looking for a more flexible approach to work around her family and Scott had developed the business as far as he could on his own. 

The solution to both issues saw Rebecca resigning from her role and joining the family business, but sadly Scott’s mum was then diagnosed with terminal cancer. Providing palliative care at home meant that the focus was moved from the business, as well as looking after the children who were still young. 

Once Rebecca was in a position to give her attention to Castle Construction, she set about defining clear roles between herself and Scott to ensure that they both worked on the areas that they had individual strengths as well as provide some breathing space for them as a married couple working together. 

“It can be stressful being together all the time and we felt that it was important for each of us to do what we do best, so Scott, who has experience in large scale civil engineering projects concentrates on the construction work side and I am the customer facing side of the business,” stated Rebecca. “This works well and whilst I sometimes moan about it, it does play to our strengths!” 

Initially Rebecca brought the current team together in a workshop so that they could discuss their capabilities as a company and what they did well, which translated into their company values and mission. “Our expertise is in structural work, and we wanted to focus on what we were good at, rather than trying to win jobs that weren’t really part of our core competencies,” commented Rebecca. 

This clarity of vision meant that they could be very decisive about the work that they took on, sub-contracting out any parts of jobs that did not fit that criteria. They provide construction services to residential and commercial clients for jobs that include extensions, basements and any job which requires structural work. “We require all clients to have read our Information Pack, which includes information about our service, case studies with costings and the questions they need to consider for their project.” Rebecca added, “We also ask that all clients have a full complement of drawings unless we are providing the architectural work for them which enables us to be more selective about which projects we take on.” 

Traditionally, the company found work through referrals and recommendations, but they wanted to expand the reach of their offer and potentially attract new clients. “We knew that we needed to embrace marketing to achieve this but were keen to ensure that everything about our messaging reinforced our company values at all times,” stated Rebecca. 

She heard about GetSet for Growth Coast to Capital and their Invest4 grants through the company’s membership of Business Network International, a global networking organisation. They got in touch with the team to discuss their business needs and worked with them to create a wish list of items to help them grow their business. “We didn’t apply for a large sum, as our main need was around the website and our marketing activity,” stated Rebecca. “Nicola was really helpful, helping us to ensure that the information we provide on our application form provided the funders with exactly what they needed to know.” 

“The help that GetSet for Growth Coast to Capital gave us was invaluable as even though we already had many of the documents required such as a business plan and financial forecast, it brought them together in one place.” She added, “It was still a fair amount of work to complete the application but worth it in the end!” 

Part of the work that the grant will help to fund, is the launch and promotion of a new partnership with Fresco Living who make garden rooms. This will add another offer to their portfolio of services in response to the growing demand for home offices and to create additional room for living and working within gardens. “The grant money will also help us to develop a tool on the website so that potential clients can proceed through the enquiry process more effectively to decide whether to go forward with their project with us,” explained Rebecca. 

“I love a challenge of a new project!” stated Rebecca, “the Invest4 grant has enabled us to push forward with our ideas to develop the business. We hope to establish the new offer alongside our core services as well as helping to develop our in-house teams. This is dependent on us attracting new clients and potentially bigger projects.” 

“My advice to any other business looking to develop is to be focused on the direction in which you want to travel and that your values and mission carry through everything that you do in the business.” She continued, “Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but I would highly recommend the support from GetSet or Growth Coast to Capital and the Invest4 grant. For me, they really helped with planning cashflow during the 1:1 sessions we had.” 

For more information about Castle Construction, visit their website here, or on LinkedInFacebook or Instagram  

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