Read the case studies below and take inspiration from some businesses we have been working with. Or scroll to the bottom to watch video case studies for the SEBB project.
Starr Brothers Films
Starr Brothers Films has been creating and capturing compelling films for over 5 years. We work with video and photography to showcase messages in an exciting, cinematic way.
Working alongside my brother Edward, we produce films for all sorts of clients from the smallest start-ups to multinationals & government agencies.
We love what we do and channel our passion into whatever we put together, whether we are deep in an Crossrail drainage system or hanging out of a helicopter above Cape Town.
We continually update our camera equipment to keep up with the ever-onwards evolution in the digital sector, which quickly adds up!
There were some exciting pieces of equipment that we really wanted to invest in but couldn’t justify the full cost against updating our core equipment, which is where the Growth Hub neatly stepped into place.
The Growth Hub were a fantastic help from the outset. Jacqui explained everything we needed to do and cover over the phone, which was invaluable seeing as we are out on location most days of the week.
We produced the list of new equipment and tools, including an extremely useful camera stabiliser for one of our camera rigs, and Jacqui helped us with the paperwork sections, keeping us on track time wise, which was particularly helpful as being a smaller business you always have a thousand plates to spin at once!
What appreciable difference did guidance make to this business?
Being able to buy the camera gear we’ve wanted for a long time, but couldn’t justify the full investment, we’ve been able to move into different areas of filming straight away, transforming our range and ability to cover events and capture moments with even greater clarity, a true competitive edge over competitors.
What are the subsequent plans for growth and/or development?
We are always broadening our client base, but due to the new equipment we are developing some novel social media filming techniques which are really exciting to play around with.
We are continuing to work with Jacqui moving forward, looking into new grants and more ways to help our business grow.
“I couldn’t recommend the Growth Hub and Jacqui’s help highly enough! They were there every step of the way, helping propel us forward to expand our business!” William Starr, Owner
Established for 24 years, the business started life as a distributor of fire alarm system accessories and other specialist equipment.
The typical squeezed middle-man – under pressure of pricing from customers on one hand and experiencing cost increases on the other from suppliers. They identified that they needed to move into true manufacturing to ensure their future growth.
James contacted the Growth Hub. A meeting with Jacqui, Business Navigator, helped to identify that they would be able to access a number of different grants and business support.
- SEBB Grant to purchase the vital Pick and Place Machine for the manufacturing process.
- LEADER grant team to assist with the £115k project to set up a lean and efficient production facility.
- Manufacturing Growth Programme x 3 – consultancy support to develop a lean manufacturing processes in the factory, embed the learning with his team, help with documentation for product type approval and website development.
- Department of International Trade – who are now working with their new Export Manager to support their export strategy including funding for attending trade shows.
The support for Vimpex is still ongoing but so far they have received nearly £70k in grant funding – all of which never needs to be paid back.
Business Support Benefits:
The project and grant funding has been transformational for the business.
They have already seen:
- More control over their products and route to market.
- More control of input costs – an increase in profitability – with profit margins up by 20% already
- Critical IP on their own products, registered trademarks and designs
- Ability to be more competitive – competing for bigger corporate business contracts
- Increase in business – corporate businesses approaching them to sub contract manufacturing – particularly important in terms of their export strategy. Putting them clearly on the map.
- 20% increase in turnover this year and James is projecting at least a 15% increase year on year
- Creating new jobs locally with more planned.
- An increase in the value of the business
“The advice and guidance from Best Growth Hub and particularly Jacqui Stimpson has allowed us to access funding which we did not know was available. The advice has contributed to revolutionizing our business and giving us a fantastic platform for future growth through increased productivity and improved export sales performance.” James Jones, M.D.
Before and After photos:
Ice House Desserts
Karen Pridige Director of Ice House Desserts Ltd, was looking for assistance to help her business grow. She applied for a SEBB grant to help her purchase Ice cream making machines – one a pasteurizer the other a batch freezer. This will enable the business to introduce more products, increase its customer base, become more efficient and grow.
Karen had never received business support before we first met her at a SEBB Grant drop in day at the council offices. This we organised in conjunction with Epping District Council.
We explained the benefits of the grant and the procedures on the day and Karen applied straight away. The grants team then worked closely with Karen to see her application through to fruition.
Business Support benefits
Karen has now purchased the required equipment and is well on the way to getting her business to where she wants it to be.
Karen estimates that the purchase of the machines will impact her business in a very positive way to the tune of £100k
Karen is now looking to apply for a further grant for a marketing consultant. Her details have been passed to one of our partner organisations who will help her with this.
“We would not have been able to get the machinery without the SEBB grant, by doing so has enabled us to increase our production and quality of our Desserts”.
Karen Pridige, Director
Trusted Traders Group Ltd T/A Trusted Traders Tendring are based in Clacton On Sea and have 2 employees. Trusted Traders Tendring is an online membership directory for local businesses within the Tendring area. The online directory makes it easier for local communities to find local and trusted businesses within their local area.
As with most online directory businesses, the business faced many challenges with an ever growing social media presence in the market. This required the business to step back and re-asses the business to become more competitive. The directors identified that changes needed to be made, but weren’t sure what those changes would look like and how to get there.
The directors then contacted The BEST Growth Hub for free impartial support. The business had a diagnostic carried out with a navigator who established that the business could benefit from the free 12 hours of business advice from a Business Growth Advisor.
Kurt Scheepers, Business Growth Advisor for the North of Essex engaged with the business to collectively understand and resolve the barriers the business faced. Barriers identified included; Sales & Marketing, Operations, Finance & HR.
Business Support benefits
As a result of Kurt Scheepers assistance the business has now:
- Improved their cash flow by £1200 p.m
- Revised their terms and conditions
- Increased their market share
Have robust processes and procedures in place
- Improved their marketing strategy
- Scale up the business by identifying new locations for growth.
“The BEST Growth Hub has been a breath of fresh air supporting our business. Helping us identify key areas we wouldn’t have providing positive advice. Our business without a doubt has increased with the support received from Kurt Scheepers. We now have focus and direction having gained knowledge to know how to move the business forward.” Director- Malcolm Everitt
Tarte de Fleurs Ltd
Tarte de Fleurs is a Limited Company Based in Harlow with 1 employee. Tarte de Fleurs was established in 2010 by the Director, Elizabeth Manukyan. The business designs and manufactures beautiful and delicious bespoke cakes.
The business is run from home in order to keep costs down and to be more flexible. However, the director is ambitious and wanted to grow the business by establishing a boutique style coffee shop to show her creativity, cakes and providing good quality coffee and teas, but needed some help to get there.
The director then contacted The BEST Growth Hub for free and impartial support. Kurt Scheepers, Business Growth Advisor for the North of Essex engaged with the business to understand and resolve the barriers the business faced. The business growth aspirations meant that it required a business loan and premises that would allow the business to expand and grow.
Business Support benefits
As a result of Kurt’s assistance with the business and the fully funded 12 hours of support, the business has now:
- Focus and confidence to move business forward
- Fully researched the market
- Completed a comprehensive Business Plan
- Applied for a loan
- Identified premises to move into
- Been supported with cash flow & other loan application requirements
“I had a lot of information that I didn’t know how to use, I didn’t know how to write my business plan and the scariest part for me was the cash flow forecast. Now thanks to your guidance and advice, I have a clear vision on what steps I should take and what to expect. Thank you again for being so patient and supportive!”
Director – Elizabeth Manukyan.
E. Christian & Company Ltd
EC Group provides fulfilment, handling and delivery solutions to a wide variety of clients. The broad range and scale of our service offering is expected to increase and to enable this we have been looking to increase the capacity on our current site.
Our proposal is to install a pallet racking system in our newly completed warehouse extension – c.a. 10,000 sq ft. The unit will be used to create valuable additional storage and handling capacity that will enable us both to grow and to develop our custom (bonded) warehouse facility.
As a result this will give us greater flexibility in responding to new and existing clients’ requirements.
The arrival of the email from the BEST Growth Hub about the new South East Business Boost (SEBB) Grant was extremely timely as the whole project has been calculated to cost around £35,000. Being informed that there was up to £10,000 in grant support available, if we were eligible, would prove to be invaluable.
“My initial reaction to the email was rather reserved – I expected an extremely onerous process and a massively complex qualification procedure – but in fact the whole thing was completely painless! “
Chris Long , Managing Director
The Value Added
We are now in the final stages of the system installation and are excited about how this will impact the Business.
“It’s been a pleasure working with the BEST and SEBB team on this project and I’m very grateful for all the support we’ve received.”
Chris Long, Managing Director
In financial terms, we expect the capacity created to enable us to generate a minimum of £250k per annum, as well as creating between 2 – 10 new full time employee positions alongside our existing workforce.
The additional revenue will allow us to reinvest into our current business infrastructure with the potential to expand again in other premises that we own.
Funky Medical Accessories MD
Funky Medical Accessories design, manufacture and sell baby products. Their range of products include; Pram pegs, Russian Dolls and Teethers.
Funky Medical Accessories MD, Laura Mudie, was a midwife with an idea to sell “Funky Fobz” – watches for midwifes with a variety of different designs. Laura’s experience as a new mum has led her to design a range of niche sensory toys and products for babies.
Laura had never received business support when we first met her at an event.
Working closely with our team of Business Navigators, Laura has now attended one of our pop up business cafés as well as completing several of our business skills workshops.
Moreover, Laura has benefited from the Growth Hub’s support in accessing a grant from The Department for International Trade which enabled her to attend and network at Europe’s largest nursery show in Germany.
The BEST Growth Hub was also able to simultaneously refer Funky Medical to the Manufacturing Growth Programme (where she received branding and marketing support for Rosa & Bo) and to the Intellectual property Office where she received advice on trademarking her products.
Business Support Outcomes
Funky Medical accessories increased their turnover by 30% in the first year after we started working with them and they have employed 1 additional full time employee.
Some of their products are now stocked in high street stores such as JoJo Mum and Baby and they have recently been shortlisted for a national award for the category of best baby and toddler product.
Laura is now receiving global interest – specifically from distributors in Asia and South America.
“I didn’t have a business background, I’m a midwife, so the support I received from the Growth Hub has given me the confidence to grow my business and allowed me to unlock my potential.” Laura Mudie
Godfrey Design Ltd
Godfrey Design Ltd was established in August 1999 in Colchester and currently employees 11 FTE staff. They design and manufacture scale models for prototyping and marketing needs e.g. ships, housing developments, super yachts, submarines.
The technology currently used in their production processes was being outdone by new technologies in other companies. Therefore by upgrading to newer technologies would allow them to compete with current market trends.
After a diagnostic was completed, we identified that the business could afford to invest in 3 x 3D printers at the present time and this was funded by the South East Business Boost.
Further support has been agreed in terms of:
- Theo, the business scale-up adviser has now engaged with the MD to look at their business growth strategy over the next 3 years.
- There was also the opportunity to engage with the LoCASE grant team to look at premises improvement and CAD/solidworks and when funds become available this is next on their list.
- The business can also access support through the Manufacturing Growth Programme to bring in a consultant to look at areas which Theo might identify.
- Export strategy – the client has been made aware of how the teams at DIT and EEN can support the export strategy and this may form part of Theo’s advice.
Improving business skills – the MD is very interested in using the workshop programme to upskill some of his team particularly around marketing and customer service.
“The Growth Hub is a very useful organisation which has helped us provide an impartial and independent view on the key areas that we need to look at to help our business grow from strength to strength. Everyone has been really helpful and it has been very much appreciated and I will continue to work with them going forward”- Kevin Godfrey, Director
Jarmanmurphy is a garden and landscape design company that was formed in 2015 by Sarah Jarman and Anna Murphy after leaving college where they first met. They launched their partnership at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show with a small show garden that won a gold medal and best ‘Back to Back’ garden.
Jarmanmurphy approached BEST Growth Hub for support and advice on developing a new business. Initially they attended a drop in afternoon where there were local services and advice on offer. They also had a 1 to 1 session with an advisor to look at courses that were on offer and to talk about systems for running a business. They have attended free courses to gain further knowledge about tax and setting up business accounts.
Business Support Outcomes
Being involved with the growth hub and the opportunities it provides has enabled us to feel more confident and knowledgeable in how we have set up our business and how we run it. We know that we can sign up for courses that meet our needs and also knowing that someone is at the end of the phone to answer any business queries is a great resource to have.
Future of the business
We are national finalists in the Society of Garden Designers Awards for 2017 and we are busy designing gardens for our clients in Essex, Hertfordshire, Devon and Wiltshire. We want to continue to develop our brand and business that has grown a reputation for a subtle style of designing, with an emphasis on beautiful naturalistic gardens with a strong sense of place. We would love to design another show garden in the future.
“Being involved with the Growth Hub and the opportunities it provides has enabled us to feel more confident and knowledgeable in how we have set up our business and how we run it. We know that we can sign up for courses that meet our needs and also knowing that someone is at the end of the phone to answer any business queries is a great resource to have.” – Sarah Jarman, Director
Leigh On Sea Brewery Ltd
Leigh On Sea Brewery Ltd formed as a company in April 2017. There are only 2 Directors employed in the company. They started brewing in August 2017 on a bigger version of a home brewing kit. With that equipment they were getting beer into local pubs, off licences and beer festivals. The plan was to expand into bigger equipment to produce more.
As a business Leigh On Sea Brewery Ltd wanted to improve the premises in order to expand production and through a friend’s recommendation they approached LoCASE Programme who were able to part fund electrical improvements, the cold room and some of the bigger brewing equipment. They then made contact with the Growth hub where a diagnostic was completed and as a result the following help was provided:
- Introduction to the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) who have helped them with a consultant to assist with their branding and design of bottles labels and pump clips.
- Introduction to the Essex Growth Programme to assist with part funding additional brewing equipment e.g. fermenting vessels.
- MGP then were able to help with a grant to part fund a consultant to help with improving the director’s knowledge and skills re: the brewing process and recipes.
- Introduction to the South East Business Boost to part fund an automatic cask cleaner which will help to improve efficiency.
As a result the business is more knowledgeable and have better skills, improved efficiency and greater capacity for growth in their first year of business.
There may be growth in terms of employment e.g. apprentice and this is being looked into at the moment which will free up capacity for the directors to focus on sales and market development. The Growth Hub will be working with the director’s to support this avenue.
“Working with the Growth Hub has made a significant difference to getting us started. Raising finance is always an issue for any business getting started and working with the growth hub has helped to alleviate some of that burden. Their understanding and awareness of the whole landscape of business support and grants has been invaluable and we will continue to keep in touch with them as the business expands.” – Ian Ryding, Director
Rossi Ice Cream
Rossi Ice Cream has been producing award-winning ice cream in Essex since 1932. With a long-standing heritage that continues to be loved by generations they have recently celebrated their 85th Anniversary!
Rossi Ice Cream were seeking support for funding, as they were moving from very old premises to newer ones and in order to improve production and to keep up to date with the latest technologies and processes, they needed to buy additional equipment.
The Growth Hub carried out a diagnostic and identified a number of grants that Rossi Ice Cream could apply for. They have been awarded a LoCASE grant which enabled them to buy new equipment which is more reliable and energy efficient. It was installed into their new production facility which they moved into in December 2016. They are also in the process of applying for a SEBB grant for a new ripple machine.
“We have been able to increase production efficiency and sales on our 125ml tubs by 25%. This increase created a direct requirement to employ additional seasonal staff this year.”
Future of the business
The future of the business is strong. They now have the resources in place to increase our production capacity which has come at a great time. Rossi Ice Cream have just signed a 3 year European license agreement with Candy Crush. During the first phase of this agreement they have developed 3 bespoke flavours that are planned to be elevated to sales through National Distribution which could see a significant step change in the planned growth of the business.
They are looking at other grants recommended and hope to access these in the near future.
“Rossi’s now have the foundations in place to grow the business. We are well established with 85 years of trading but the business is financially fragile and without the grant would have struggled to improve the efficiency and reliability of our production facility. The Locase grant has given us the ability to increase our turnover and employ more staff.”