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The Crowd is getting bigger with £2.4m of extra funding

25th July, 2016 No Comments


Crowdfunder Plus-full-funding map

As Cavendish Enterprise begins its partnership with Crowdfunder having recently launched Cavendish Crowd (the crowdfunding resource for alternative funding for business starts and growth), it’s great to hear about the additional funding that is also in place and open to applications from eligible Cavendish Crowd clients.

Crowdfunder announced last week a deal which brings extra funding for UK crowdfunders as councils, brands and grant makers to pledge over £2.4 million on local and national crowdfunding projects.  The UK’s leading crowdfunding platform is to distribute this money, traditionally given out by councils, brands and community funds via grants or sponsorship, to crowdfunding projects that meet the partner’s funding criteria.  A further £1.3m is scheduled to be added to the funding offer over the next 3 months.

Projects, such as those posted on the Cavendish Crowd page, can apply for funding through these schemes, subject to eligibility, using the crowd to validate their ideas with this new route to secure additional funding and support to turn their ideas into reality.

Jason Nuttall, Head of Funding at Crowdfunder Ltd said “At Crowdfunder we believe in not only enabling people to make their great ideas a reality – but ensuring that they have access to as much support as possible along their journey. By distributing funding from partners into crowdfunding projects that have the support of the crowd, partners are not only supporting great ideas, but putting funding into projects that have also been validated by the crowd. The benefits to all are enormous, bringing fund distribution to a new level.

“National and regional partners distributing funds through Crowdfunder include Virgin Media Business, who pledged £50,000 to support start up businesses as part of the VOOM 2016 competition Crowdfunder Award, Dorset County Council who have £200,000 to support innovative youth projects in the county, Plymouth City Council, who have already turned £60,000 of council funding into over £430,000 of funds raised for their community and Creative England, who have invested £80,000 into crowdfunding film projects and £40,000 to discover and support female game developers.”

Phil Geraghty, MD of Crowdfunder added: “Council’s, brands and grant makers are enjoying some valuable benefits. They are able to easily identify projects they want to support with pledges. Partners such as Plymouth City Council have been able to amplify the money they distributed, with money raised for projects from the crowd, and also reduce administrative costs.

“Brands are also able to connect with consumers individually, and create great stories, as they help turn ideas into reality. All partners benefit from greater exposure to large-scale audiences and public engagement alongside positive success stories.”

Recently, Crowdfunder partnered with Virgin Media Business to offer crowdfunding to businesses taking part in VOOM 2016, the UK and Ireland’s biggest business competition.

Scott Wilkinson, Head of VOOM, added, “’Crowdfunder and Virgin Media Business partnered to help businesses and together we’ve turned a £50k match fund into over £700k  – and it’s still growing fast.

“Crowdfunding offers a pretty spectacular option for many businesses to reach out and secure their next objective, and our ongoing partnership is helping unleash future economic successes.”

Launch your project with Cavendish Crowd and find information on additional funding with Crowdfunder Plus.  Help and support with launching your project and growing your business is available to Cavendish Crowd clients through the Start & Grow programme, a government initiative for start up and growing businesses funded by the Regional Growth Fund.

Seaweed

Seaweed grows fast!

4th July, 2016 No Comments


Seaweed & Co. Ltd was established in 2015 to advise on, supply and accredit superb seaweed for the food, health and nutrition markets. In this time, the company has established a global distribution network, and world-class production that is proving its seaweeds to be the best on the market.

Harvesting seaweedOuter Hebrides

Above : The Outer Hebrides where the seaweed is grown and harvested.

Dr Craig Rose, Managing Director of Seaweed & Co, explains how the business support he has received has helped his enterprise to grow as rapidly as the seaweed it harvests.

“Establishing a business in an emerging industry presents its own very unique challenges. It takes a great deal of patience during the early months to educate and inform potential customers who don’t yet know about the potential of seaweed. At Seaweed & Co. we are not only trying to sell our own products but also work alongside other companies in our field to grow the industry as a whole.

“As a business owner this means that I had to go into the start-up phase with my eyes open. I knew there would be a significant initial outlay on equipment – such as the state-of-the-art technologies we installed – and my forecasts had to reflect the fact that we wouldn’t be selling thousands of pounds worth of produce from day one.

“With high set up costs and little awareness of such a niche industry, a new business like Seaweed & Co. requires access to both investment and proactive business support. And that was why I took the decision to approach TEDCO.”

TEDCO is the Cavendish Enterprise partner delivering business advice and support in the North East.

Dr Rose continues “I was already aware that TEDCO had a strong reputation for start-up support and when I first contacted business advisor Bill Hartshorne, he very quickly understood where we were and how we might look to meet the challenges and opportunities that we faced.

“One of the key things that I was able to get help with straight away was funding through the Virgin StartUp Loans scheme. We were delighted to be awarded the maximum possible loan of £25,000, which enabled us to get the new technologies in place. Thanks to the marketing teams at TEDCO and Virgin StartUp we were also able to generate substantial press coverage through the trade press, newspapers and even BBC news.

“As part of the Start & Grow programme, Seaweed & Co. also benefitted from the one-to-one support of a business advisor, which is ongoing for up to three years after start. With the help of Bill Hartshorne, we were able to ensure that our business plan was up-to-scratch and that we had the right plans in place to grow the business once we had funding in place.

“Less than two years later we have a truly world-class and highly unique product offering that is now being sold around the world. But our relationship with TEDCO didn’t stop after those early few months. We have continued to work closely with them and the wider Cavendish Enterprise team to promote the business and realise our ambitions.

“In June 2016 Seaweed & Co. was one of just three companies from around the country selected to talk at the House of Lords. This event, a Celebration of Enterprise, was organised by Cavendish Enterprise and sponsored by Lord Wei of Shoreditch.

“It was a huge honour to be able to speak at the highly prestigious House of Lords, to an audience of invited guests that included some big names in the business and business support world. This type of exposure is only possible through the on-going support and networking opportunities made possible through TEDCO and Cavendish Enterprise. With their help we have been able to raise the profile of seaweed, as a natural and sustainable British resource that both benefits people’s health and the health of the planet.

“In starting a business there are many uncertainties, risks, time constraints and demands on resources. It was genuinely helpful to work alongside a support agency that understood the complexities and challenges of a start-up business. From the very beginning, both TEDCO and Cavendish Enterprise have continually provided a high quality business support offering, with a genuine interest in the business and a desire to see us succeed.

“I would highly recommend any business to make contact with a business support agency, and to see where it could go. It was one of the best decisions I made when starting out.”

With thanks to Dr Craig Rose, Managing Director, Seaweed & Co for his informative insight into starting a business.

More information on Seaweed & Co., and the immense benefits of seaweed, can be found on their website.

 

 

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The value of expert help for entrepreneurs

27th November, 2015 No Comments


Starting a business on your own can be a daunting task to say the least, and many people are discouraged by the idea of having to manage every aspect of the venture themselves. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as a multitude of support networks have been put in place up and down the country to help guide and advise you in every aspect of business.

The value of expert mentoring is something that should not be underestimated. According to research by the Federation of Small Business, 70% of entrepreneurs that receive mentoring survive for five years or more, which is double that of non-mentored entrepreneurs.

Start up advice statistics

Even if you know your product and target market inside out, this doesn’t necessarily guarantee success, as there is still a lot to do after the initial stages of product development. Every start-up business has access to a support network and they should take full advantage of it. Support networks and expert help from mentors will not only help your business to grow, but to thrive.

Mentoring is a relatively new concept for businesses, but it is something that has become readily available over the past few years through various business support networks. It is usually provided by established business owners who want to give back to the local business community and help entrepreneurs succeed. Let’s have a look the different ways in which expert mentoring can give you the best chance of success.

You know the goals for your business and you know your product inside-out, but you may need assistance with marketing, financial planning or developing a business plan.  Working in these unfamiliar areas will most likely bring about complex problems that you may not have encountered before. This is where your expert mentor steps in. Your mentor will be able to guide you through these problems so that you can learn how to get past them and eventually tackle these tasks yourself.

Your mentor will also be able to identify areas that may need a lot of attention, areas that you may not have even considered, all helping your business to gain a competitive edge. Having a trusted person to talk to when your business is encountering problems is also very important and a reliable mentor is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. Your mentor will be able to give you an honest opinion and will be on hand to talk you through any problems that may arise.

One of the common barriers for start-ups is business planning. If you are applying for a start-up loan or grant, you will need to ensure that your business plan is up to scratch. You will need someone to provide a second opinion and there is no one better to do this than a start-up expert. Starting a business isn’t an easy task, but can be made easier by taking advantage of the support available. You’re not alone, and you’re not the only person who wants to see your business succeed!

Written by Tara Gillam, Business West

The Start & Grow programme will support you and your business through the start up stages and for a further 3 years after you commence trading.  Contact your local Cavendish partner for more information.

* statistics from CEEDR Report – ‘Research to understand the barriers to take up and use of business support’ undertaken for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills – July 2011.

Start & Grow is funded by the Regional Growth Fund, and delivered in specific areas across England by the Cavendish Consortium partners.

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Marketing: Essential for business growth?

1st May, 2015 No Comments


New Customers Request in Search String

During the start-up process entrepreneurs have to overcome many factors to get their business up and running. However, one of the biggest, and most important challenges of starting a business happens once it is trading – attracting and retaining customers, and growing profit.

Marketing to attract customers sounds simple but this crucial factor, which often gets overlooked by more pressing problems, can make or break your business. If people don’t know about your business, how can they become customers? And if you don’t have any customers, then how is your business going to make money? And if it isn’t making money, how are you going to keep your business going? These issues are not unique to start-ups; existing businesses must have an adaptive marketing strategy too!

In order to enter the marketplace, and stay there successfully alongside the competition, SMEs have to get their name known – and for the right reasons. However, many SMEs overlook marketing and cut it from their budgets because they don’t feel it’s a necessity – but it is! Marketing is vital for attracting and keeping your customers. It is important to make sure you are positioning yourself in the right way and targeting the right companies in the right way.

Newer businesses have to work harder to grow within the market, being careful to not get bypassed by other well-known companies that already have a loyal customer base. Building a solid, positive, reputation is the key to this.

Top marketing tips for start-ups and young businesses:

– Get networking – it is a great way to meet fellow entrepreneurs and potential customers but don’t be tempted to try to sell to everyone you meet. Concentrate on making friends and connections – sales will come later if you offer something that can help them.

Online AND offline – the world is now dominated by the Internet but do not ignore other options. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes and list all of the places that they are likely to look if they needed your service.

Word of mouth should feature on the list. It is not just about who you know – who do they know?

Social Media – join LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. At very least these will allow you to add a link to your but if treated carefully, they can be incredibly powerful FREE marketing tools.

Contribution from Enterprise First

NBV and RfB

Moving beyond Business Start-up: Turning the Tables with a Vinyl Revolution

15th January, 2015 No Comments


NBV, RfBTallbird Pic

Through the Ready for Business programme, many budding new entrepreneurs are making their dreams a reality and starting their own business.  Maria Harris from Chesterfield is one such entrepreneur, who started her business with the help of NBV Enterprise Solutions Ltd (NBV), based in the East Midlands.

Maria has a background in music retail, working for big names like Beggars Banquet and Virgin Retail, plus a degree in Radio, Film & Television Studies, and made the decision to play her part in the vinyl revolution by setting up Tallbird Records.

Maria explained “I started my own business because, quite frankly, I was a bored housewife who had a dream of owning and running a record shop.”  This led to Maria doing some internet research on setting up a business, where she found NBV.   “I only attended a one-day seminar about starting a business, but it was there that I was introduced to my NBV Business Adviser, Anna Sywyj, who became such a support to me” said Maria.  “She was the one person I could discuss my business planning concerns with; she was also someone to kick ideas around with and an invaluable source of advice about the logistics of starting a new business.”

Maria opened her shop in October 2013.

“My claim to fame is that Tallbird Records is currently the only record shop in Chesterfield!”

“I’m proud to offer a great range of products, alongside first-rate customer service. I also make a profit, which of course is the really important bit!”

There have of course been the inevitable highs and lows to navigate.  Maria said “The high point of opening the business for me has been the incredible positivity and genuine warmth from those who have visited the shop, some of whom have become regular customers.  I have had days when my takings have been down, but on the whole, there have been many more highs than lows.”

NBV Business Adviser, Anna, added, “Maria had a sound business plan when we met; she just needed a steer in the right direction.  She has now developed a successful enterprise, which is based on her passion for music.  It has been such a joy to see her confidence grow as a direct result of opening and growing her business.  When you visit the shop, it’s clear to see that customers really value Maria’s knowledge and the excellent customer service that she provides. I am also really pleased that the business is exceeding its initial financial projections.  Maria has adapted and tweaked the business to meet the demands of her record-buying public; she’s also added to her new product ranges to ensure she stays one step ahead of the game.”

The future is bright for Maria and Tallbird Records.  Summarising her experience of Ready for Business with NBV, Maria concluded “I would advise anyone wanting to move on from business start-up, to contact NBV and make the most of the services and support on offer.  I’ve just taken on a part time member of staff and am looking forward to offering the same great service, on a slightly grander scale.  I’m also exploring setting up an online shop, further marketing of the business and long-term, even a move to slightly larger premises.  My turnover is also growing; who knows where I’ll be in another year’s time!”

If you would like to follow in Maria’s footsteps and start your own business, contact your local enterprise agency within the Cavendish Consortium partnership.

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