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4th July, 2016
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.
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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