Tag Business Growth

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£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.

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

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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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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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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International Marketing Tips for Manufacturing SMEs

We discussed in a previous blog how UK manufacturers have seen the benefits of lower commodity prices on world markets due to the devalued Pound. With the levels of economic uncertainty likely to continue for the next two years at least, the enthusiasm and optimism of exporting UK manufacturers is largely based on their view that Sterling will remain devalued against major currencies like the Euro and the US Dollar, helping keep their prices competitive in overseas markets.

Below we provide our five top tips to help manufacturers sell more products internationally online, and to capitalise on the current economic conditions.

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Modern marketing for manufacturers – Part 3

This is the third part in our series of blogs for manufacturers where we provide tips on in-bound marketing activities that will help you meet your top priorities, such as:

• Generating more high quality leads
• Controlling marketing costs and proving return on investment
• Staying ahead of your competition

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Modern marketing for manufacturers – Part 2

This is the second part of our blog for manufacturers where we provide tips on in-bound marketing activities that will help you meet your top priorities, such as:

• Generating more high quality leads
• Controlling marketing costs and proving return on investment
• Staying ahead of your competition

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Modern marketing for manufacturers

We continue our series of blogs for manufacturers where we provide tips on marketing activities that will help you meet your top priorities, such as:

• Generating more high quality leads
• Controlling marketing costs and proving return on investment
• Staying ahead of your competition

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How well do manufacturing companies know their customers?

Customer and experience are two words that you don’t often encounter in the manufacturing industry. On the whole, manufacturing is an industry focused on the product – rather than how it is presented to the customer – and to some extent, rightly so. Much of the insight usually found within the boardroom walls of a manufacturing giant are typically applied to product design or R&D.

In our previous blog, we have already identified that a key stage in putting together your marketing strategy is to define the key markets in which your business will operate. This includes the markets, locations and types of customers you will target.

71% of B2B companies are at risk of losing customers by not being fully engaged with the companies they do business with. (Recent research by Gallup)

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Manufacturers need a modern approach

Traditionally, marketing was always a linear path – people saw an ad, they were interested in the product, so they went to their local store and bought it. However, with the rise of digital and social media, customers are now researching information on their own. The same goes for engineers and technical buyers, who do most of their research, evaluation and final selection of a vendor very differently today than in the past.

Buyers are looking for information online and will only interact with sales people on their own terms. Your lead generation and marketing therefore needs to evolve to meet their needs. Otherwise you are going to struggle generating qualified leads that turn into sales opportunities.

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Sustain manufacturing growth through modern marketing practices with customer focus

The most successful businesses strive for growth, embrace digital and are constantly looking for ways to deliver and exceed customer expectations. Digital transformation and evolving customer expectations now combine to create a more transparent operating and trading environment than ever before.

Customer awareness is not enough in the modern world. Businesses are rapidly shifting towards customer-led models. High-growth organisations focus on their customers in every aspect of their business and allow them to provide insight that supports the future development of the company. Customer-obsession, and the business growth that follows, is not possible without first considering a customer’s expectations. Today, the modern customer expects a digital presence from the suppliers they use and expect prompt responses to their queries

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