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Hatch Drama gets top prize in survey

9th November, 2016 No Comments


Laura Sehjal

Firstly, a huge ‘thank you’ to all our business support programme clients who kindly took the time to complete our recent ‘Starting a Business’ survey. We are pleased to announce that the winner of the iPod in the prize draw is Laura Sehjal.

Laura started her business 3 years ago and confidently responded to the ‘Starting a Business’ survey having been through the process herself.

Principal and founder of Hatch Drama in Ashford, Kent, Laura clearly remembers taking part in her first drama class at the tender age of five – the effects of which are still propelling her forward today. Laura’s drive comes from a desire to ensure that she recreates the same experience of magic, safety and growth for every child she works with.

With an MA and a First Class Honours Degree in Theatre, Laura started teaching drama over 12 years ago. Loving all aspects of theatre, she has written, directed and performed shows across London. Laura has also worked in a variety of educational settings and has come to understand the importance of a rounded education; one that school alone cannot always deliver. The project aims to boost the confidence and self-esteem of young children through role play, drama and acting scenarios, scripts and dramatic productions.

Unlike some of the larger performing arts franchises, Hatch Drama write their own curriculum according to the individuals in each class. This gives the tutors the freedom to create a bespoke, expert programme that ensures every child benefits according to his or her needs.

Ready for Business’, the support programme which was the forerunner to Start & Grow, helped Laura to launch Hatch Drama. Laura’s business support was through Enterprise First – Cavendish Enterprise’s partner organisation delivering business support across the South East of England. Laura attended a one day workshop followed by some 1-to-1 sessions to consolidate the learning and finalise her business plan. After the business opened, Laura received additional 1-to1 support sessions to and an hour spent with a local accountant taught Laura how to manage her books.

“The support at the time was amazing” says Laura. “Starting a business involved more skills and motivation than I had originally perceived, the support offered through Ready for Business gave me confidence and kept me on track.

“The 1-to-1 meetings made me accountable to someone and gave me great short term goals to aim for. The skills I learnt at their workshop and with the accountant have proved invaluable. I still use the things I learnt three years into my business.”

Find out more about Hatch Drama performing arts classes in Ashford, Hastings, and Rye.

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Why failure is an important part of your entrepreneurial journey

10th October, 2016 No Comments


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The more successful entrepreneurs you speak to, the more you will begin to realise that failure is all part of the job. From Richard Branson to Steve Jobs, many of their great successes would not have been achieved if it wasn’t for previous failures.

Risky business

Being an entrepreneur is risky business; there’s no other way to put it. If you’re committed to being a successful entrepreneur you will need to take risks to both start and grow your business, with the potential of risks yielding bad outcomes.

When you have to take a risk in your business, don’t shy away from it. Learn as much as you can about all possible outcomes and make an educated move. If the risk you took doesn’t pay off, at least you know you made the most informed choice you could. You then need to move on. Get comfortable with taking risks and learn to live with your mistakes. It will make you a stronger, more confident business person in the long run.

Learning curve

As an entrepreneur, you are your own teacher. Unlike people who are employed by a business, you don’t have a structured role – your role is whatever you want it to be and your business success is a reflection of that. The decisions you make don’t have to be agreed by a board of directors or approved by management; however you can’t rely on others to pick up the slack if you’re feeling unproductive.

As a result of this, you will be forced to learn from yourself and the saying ‘try, try, try again’ will begin to ring true. If you try out a new idea, whether it’s a new product or a new marketing strategy, and it doesn’t work out, you will know what not to do next time. If you need to gain new skills to succeed, you are responsible for that too. Either outsource the weaker areas of your business, or up-skill yourself.

Be critical

You will most likely experience failure at some point during your entrepreneurial journey, but it’s important to see these failures as experiences you can learn from. Remember that yes, this is your life, but you are also building a business. Think critically and don’t let emotions get the better of you.
When you do experience failure, take a step back from the disappointment and think critically about what went wrong. Was it a problem with finances? Did you fail to train your staff adequately? Or was it something out of your control? Whatever the reason may be, spend some time finding the cause and create a plan to avoid repeating the same mistake next time.

What doesn’t kill you …

… makes you (and your business!) stronger.

While it is often easy for start-up businesses to go bust in their first few years of trading, this isn’t always the case. Luckily, every failure you experience won’t mean that you will need to start a new business from scratch, but it can result in some serious setbacks.

The way you handle your failures not only says a lot about your personal character, but of how you behave in the business world. You may be looking for investors, or working to develop partnerships, and you need to display confidence. If you’ve experienced failure and fall at the first hurdle when a new opportunity arises, you risk making people feel nervous about working with you in the future. It’s not the fact you failed that matters; it’s how you pick yourself back up and keep going. How you learn from mistakes and keep chasing success. And how you stay focused on your goals, realising that today is just the next step in your entrepreneurial journey.

Written by Amanda Orton, Marketing Executive for Business West, delivering business support in the South West.

For support to start and grow your business, contact the Start & Grow teams.

 

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.

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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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Join the Cavendish Crowd – five top tips

20th June, 2016 No Comments


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We are passionate about supporting new businesses and we’ve helped thousands of small businesses flourish across England.

Cavendish Enterprise has teamed up with Crowdfunder to create Cavendish Crowd – a partnership aimed at supporting and inspiring businesses across the country through its newly launched crowdfunding platform.

In our quest to support some of the brightest and most exciting start-ups, by offering an alternative form of finance to the usual arrangements offered through banks, etc, Cavendish Enterprise partners are now able to advise and support startup and growing businesses through the crowdfunding process.

Visit the Cavendish Crowd site to launch your crowdfunding project, and find crowdfunding advice and support.  Here are five top tips to start you off:

1 Identify and engage with your network

Crowdfunding is about reaching out to the community around you, in business this could be your current customers – or your future customers if you are launching a new product or brand.

Start close to home with your friends and family, talk to your loyal supporters and identify your wider network. You’ll need their support – so make sure to ask them to share your campaign when it’s up and running.

2 Warm up your crowd

It’s time to get everyone excited. Let your crowd know you’ve got a great project in the pipeline. Share a few details; get your supporters ready to pledge. 90% of the work on your campaign should happen before you go live and start funding. That includes getting your biggest fans ready to pledge on the day you launch.

3 Great rewards

Make people want to pledge to your project not just to help you out but because they get something amazing in return: Rewards should be unique, great value, and non-geographical – appealing to everyone who is interested in your idea – making your project an exciting one to be a part of.

4 Plan – fail to prepare, prepare to fail

You need a plan, you need a team and you need to know who is doing what and when. Many of the most successful business crowdfunder campaigns have pledgers lined up before the launch date in order to drive momentum once the campaign is live.

It’s also a great idea to plan your social media, PR and marketing approach before you start so it’s plain sailing when your campaign launches.

5 Talk to your community

Communicate with your supporters, before, during and after your campaign. Say thank you for their pledges – keep them up to date with progress on your project, send out rewards quickly and keep talking to them – where is their money going, how is it helping your business? These supporters are your customers and you want them to come back again and again – maybe even supporting your next Crowdfunder campaign.

So, if you have a great idea and think crowdfunding may be the best solution to raising the finance you require contact the Cavendish Enterprise delivery partner in your region, for support and advice, or go straight to the Cavendish Crowd platform and launch your project today!

 

A view of the iconic clock tower of the Houses odf Parliament in London.

Celebration of Enterprise fit for a Lord

20th June, 2016 1 Comment


Cavendish Enterprise partners, three entrepreneurial Start & Grow clients, and a room full of guests came together at the House of Lords to celebrate the success achieved by businesses who have benefitted from government funded business support, advice and training.

With the kind permission of Lord Wei of Shoreditch, who is himself an entrepreneur, the guest list of 100 influential and passionate supporters of enterprise heard the start-up journey taken by three Start & Grow clients.

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Start & Grow entrepreneurs (left to right) : Cemal Ezel (Change Please CIC), Dr Craig Rose, (Seaweed & Co), and Patience Chipaumire-Oyeniran, (Panashe Home Care Services).

Cemal Ezel saw a business opportunity that would also give something back to the community. In Nov 2015 he set up Change Please. With his previous experience of working with a coffee roasting social enterprise company, Cemal saw there was an opportunity to work with homeless people to give them a clear way forward. The company provides barista coffee carts operated by homeless individuals. There are currently 8 coffee carts operating around London and employs 11 homeless individuals. Change Please pays the London Living Wage and arranges housing for its workers. Whilst working with the company, employees can build their skills base and eventually move on in their career. After six months, they are moved into full time employment with one of the organisation’s partners. Cemal’s future plans suggest that up to 50 additional jobs will be created and £500,000 investment secured as he hopes to expand into new regions and potentially other sectors.

Cemal needed advice and guidance on sourcing the appropriate grants and putting together successful applications for future expansion which he received through Start & Grow with Enterprise for London. The programme has also guided Cemal in areas where he needs to employ, such as Operations Manager, looking at job descriptions and employee handbooks. “My advisor has been a sounding board for ideas and challenges.” said Cemal. “I hope that the support will enable me to grow the business in a much more efficient way.”

“I would have been able to start the business because the of the backing from other companies, but the benefits of research and assistance with grants available through the Start & Grow programme will have a positive impact on outcomes.” said Cemal.

Seaweed & Co has launched offering seaweed ingredients for the food and nutrition industries, using high quality seaweed sustainably wild harvested in the Scottish Outer Hebrides. The business has been launched by seaweed expert, Dr Craig Rose, who has lived and worked in the North East since moving from his native Leeds to attend Newcastle University over 15 years ago, and is on track to make seaweed a food of the future thanks to a £25,000 investment from Virgin StartUp, and assistance from TEDCO Business Support through the Start & Grow programme.

Based in North Shields, Seaweed & Co is now looking to capitalise on the growing popularity of seaweed as a ‘superfood’ ingredient, and boost sales within the UK and international food and nutrition industries.

Dr Rose, Managing Director of Seaweed & Co. said: “Although a central ingredient in the diet of Asian countries for millennia, seaweed is a forgotten food in the West, and has only recently been re-discovered for its extraordinary nutritional benefits. I was always aware of the positive impact seaweed can have on health, and as a sustainable natural resource through my training as a marine biologist.”

Seaweed contains all the vitamin groups and minerals, and can be used as a natural flavour enhancer to replace salt in the food manufacturing process. Just even a tiny amount of seaweed packs a strong nutritional punch and research has suggested it can help with weight management, and due to its natural iodine levels, can contribute to normal cognitive function and metabolism.

Dr Rose continues: “The market for seaweed in the UK is still relatively new but thanks to support from high profile figures such as Jamie Oliver, who champions the benefits of adding more seaweed to your diet extensively in his new Superfood TV show, seaweed has huge potential for growth. It is not only the nutritional benefits of seaweed which make it desirable as part of a healthy diet, but it is also presents a valuable alternative to food manufacturers as a natural salt replacement in everyday foods.

“Thanks to investment from Virgin StartUp and the guidance of TEDCO Business Support, we are on track for a successful first year and have three UK distributors on board to sell our product to the food and nutrition industry. Food containing Seaweed & Co sourced seaweed is now stocked in all of the major UK supermarkets.”

The investment has been used to fund a highly innovative system for processing the seaweed in Scotland to produce larger volumes of high quality seaweed through a more gentle and scalable approach . The system, and the factory in which it operates, is one of the most sophisticated seaweed production facilities in the UK.

Seaweed & Co. is also working in partnership with Durham University on a research project to develop sources of seaweed production near Lynemouth. Dr Rose continues: “Our order book is looking strong for the next 12 months and we are currently working to develop more seaweed based products for the health and nutrition industry. However, for now, our focus is on growing our B2B market share as Seaweed & Co.’s accredited quality seaweed gains momentum with food manufacturers and the health supplement industry.”

Patience Chipaumire-Oyeniran has just opened the doors to her very own care agency in Leicester, Panashe Home Care Services, so elderly people can enjoy a high standard of comfortable care in their own homes.

Thanks to NBV Enterprise Solutions, Patience is also running a consultancy to advise budding care home owners on how to start up their own agencies. “NBV have made a real difference to me and I was pleasantly surprised to find them. Without their support, I would have struggled to set up my own business.“ said Patience.

Patience left her native Zimbabwe and came to the UK in 1990, training as a registered nurse and working in care homes before turning her hand to managing them. She has recruited four members of staff and one driver, and has advised seven budding care home owners on how to set up their own agency.

Patience said: “I’m really happy that I can finally make a difference to someone’s life by opening Panashe Home Care Services. I believe people should not have to leave the comfort of their own homes due to old age and neither should they have to change their little ways to fit into the care system. Instead the care system should change its ways to fit with their lives.

“I believe in our motto, ‘there is no place like home’ and I’m proud that I stand by this in everything I do.” said Patience.

With an expert panel on hand comprising David Petrie (ICAEW), Peter Holbrook (SEUK), Nick Underhill (Crowdfunder), Sarah Mintey (Developing Experts), and Peter Ibbetson (JournoLink), guests and entrepreneurs alike were able to access a wealth of start-up advice.

Although the sun didn’t shine across the Thames that day a lot of light was thrown on how to overcome some of the typical hurdles businesses might face on their start-up business journey. A big thank you from Cavendish Enterprise to all those who took part and shared their knowledge and experiences.

Written by Davina Young, Marketing Manager, Cavendish

 

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