About BEST About BEST

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.

  • Green Earth Learning


    Outdoor learning programmes based on Forest School principles.

    The Journey

    Green Earth Learning is based in Burnham on Crouch, Essex. The business offers outdoor learning programmes based on Forest School principles. The aim is for children to have as much fun as possible playing, learning and connecting with the great outdoors.

    Starting out the business needed support and contacted the BEST Growth Hub. This led to a referral to the South East Business Boost programme (“SEBB”) which provided the business with 12 hours’ free business growth advice (just one example of free services offered by SEBB).

    Support Provided

    Business Growth Adviser, Kurt Scheepers, worked with the owner during a number of advice sessions enabling the business to progress and grow. Key elements for the business were to consider and implement :

    A business plan, branding, strapline, website and identifying the right social media platforms for marketing for this type of business.

    Business Support Benefits

    Following advice sessions the business has grown and profits have increased within a very short space of time.

    The fundamentals for the business are now in place which gave the owner the confidence to launch environmentally friendly products for retail keeping in line with the ethos of the business. The business also now attends events to showcase their products, has collaborated with other organisations and the Forest School sessions get booked up very quickly.

    The business has since received The Best Forest School in Woodlands Award and has also been endorsed by Jacqueline Gold who champions Women in Business.

    Receiving advice through the SEBB programme from the early days of setting up my business was invaluable. It helped me to focus on what was going to drive my business forward. Kurt’s mentoring gave me the confidence to turn an idea into reality and realise my dream of being self employed. It has been a thoroughly worthwhile experience and I would highly recommend any new businesses starting out to take up this opportunity if they can.

    Green Earth Learning


  • Mitch Consulting


    Chartered Accountants

    The Journey

    Mitch Consulting are a firm of Chartered Accountants, who are based in Chelmsford, who offer accounting and finance support for technology start – ups. The business started in 2014 and has built up a good reputation with clients and partners.

    The business required support and contacted the Business Southend Essex & Thurrock (BEST) Growth Hub. This led to a referral to the South East Business Boost programme that offers businesses 12 hours free business advice.

    Support Provided

    Business Adviser, Kurt Scheepers, met with the Directors to advise on the issues and challenges the business was facing. It became clear, from listening to the clients, that the business needed some structure to make it more efficient.

    Business Support Benefits

    Over a period of time and with the buy in from the directors the business has:

    • Established and expanded partnerships with accountants, Solicitors & non-core activities.
    • Focused on its costings and refined return of costs.
    • Improved internal workflows.
    • Implemented monthly management meetings which has facilitated cohesion and led to improved efficiencies & enhanced client experience.
    • Focused on their core competencies.
    • Focused on their core client base.
    • Honed in on their marketing plan which is an ongoing priority.

    As a management team, we found the time spent with Kurt invaluable. More than just a sounding board, Kurt gently guided us to realise our potential by teasing out ideas we already had in the backs of our minds and helped us turn them into realistic action points.

    Director – Mark Mitchell


  • Elite Express Logistics Ltd


    Same day courier/delivery service

    The Journey

    Now in their 3rd year of trading, Elite Express Logistics Ltd has been growing year on year and being recognized as one of the best quality and reliable same day delivery service in the UK- delivering anything from letters to lampposts to delicate medical supplies.

    Support Provided

    Due to an increase in demand there was a need to increase not only the number of drivers but also the admin staff so Nick contacted the Growth Hub to find out what support was available.  Following a 20 minute call with Jacqui she identified the SEBB Grant would fit their needs.

    SEBB Grant awarded to fund:

    • Marketing consultancy – rebuild the website and add e- commerce section
    • Equipment e.g. computers, hard drives etc for the admin staff

    Jacqui continues to stay in touch with Nick and he has now signed up for 12 hours business support with Theo the Scale Up adviser and possibly looking at the new Transport and Logistics Grant (TALE)

    Business Support Benefits

    From being a two man business with some outside paid support

    • They no longer outsource additional support it has all been brought in-house which means we have more control over the quality and efficiency of the service being provided.
    • They have employed 4 new full time staff and 1 part time
    • The new IT has improved admin team efficient freeing up time to deal with increased demand
    • Turnover has increased by 70% in the last year with a further 50% increase expected next year.

    We have found the support from the Growth Hub and in particular Jacqui invaluable as it has been instrumental in helping our company grow.

    Nick Eva, Managing Director


  • Premier Print & Promotions Ltd


    Distributor of Promotional Merchandise and Print

    The Journey

    Premier is a multi-award winning, class leading distributor of promotional merchandise and print.  From one man in a tiny room above his Dad’s shop with a typewriter and a Rolodex to a 30 strong team in a purpose built, cutting edge headquarters Premier has grown to be one of the most highly regarded and respected companies in the industry.

    Support Provided

    Ryan was introduced to Jacqui from the Growth Hub by their Business Banking Manager.  The competition is strong in the printing world and the management team over the last 6 months had taken time to identify ways of growing and improving the business model.  Their number one priority was focused on marketing and their website so Jacqui pointed them to:-

    • SEBB Grant – to part fund the cost of a consultant to assist in the re-development of their website.

    Business Support Benefits

    Being awarded the grant has meant they have been able to launch a brand new website something that, without the funding, would have been very difficult. This has made a dramatic difference to that part of their business.

    • Allows them to better showcase their product range and service offering. Greater flexibility to present better.They can keep the content on-brand, relevant, current.
    • Vastly improved user experience.
    • SEO has greatly improved and the number of visitors are up by 30% and their conversion rate has increased also.
    • They can now track, report and analyse their website data analytics
    • Increased capacity to bring the development and design of the website in-house.

    The process was incredibly simple and the team at BEST Growth Hub were very helpful throughout.  Why would any business not engage with the Growth hub to be able to grow – it’s a no-brainer?!

    Ryan Askew, Sales & Marketing Director


  • Plextek RFI Ltd


    Specialist in the design and development of RFICs, MMICs and microwave/mm-wave products

    The Journey

    Plextek RFI Ltd. is part of the Plextek Group, and has been a separate limited company since 2015. Plextek RFI specialises in the design and development of radio frequency and monolithic microwave integrated circuits (RFICs and MMICs) and high frequency microelectronic modules. Its designs are used in a wide range of applications including satellite communications, radar and mobile communications infrastructure equipment including the latest 5G mobile systems operating at millimetre-wave frequencies.

    Support Provided

    Liam Devlin, MD of Plextek RFI, met Jacqui at a local event organized by the Department of International Trade. After an initial meeting about the plans for business growth, the following support was provided:-

    • LoCASE grant of over £15k towards expansion of Plextek RFI’s electronic design automation (EDA) software suite
    • Introduction to the Enterprise Europe/Innovate UK team and awarded a fully-funded visit to South Korea to explore export options and meet potential buyers.
    • SEBB Grant is pending

    Business Support Benefits

    • The funding was used to expand the high frequency IC (Integrated Circuit) design software capability.
    • Plextek RFI now has 6 user licences for the design software (ADS from Keysight Technologies) on a floating licence server.
    • An additional design engineer has been recruited since the grant was received, and the availability of the floating licence provides the capability for further growth and expansion
    • Although the visit to South Korea did not generate any immediate business, it has encouraged them to explore export options in Korea.
    • 53% of the companies turnover in 2018/19 was export, and this is set to increase in 2019/20.

    Meeting Jacqui Stimpson turned out to be very beneficial for us. She alerted me to funding opportunities that I had no idea existed, and which we were able to successfully apply for. She is always on the lookout for further opportunities that may be useful to us.

    Liam Devlin, MD


  • Kemtron Ltd


    Manufacturers of RFI/EMI shielding gaskets and components

    The Journey

    Kemtron helps customers meet their RFI/EMI shielding and environmental sealing requirements with innovative RF solutions that enhance product performance, reduce through life costs and ensure regulatory conformance.

    They have  provided a specialist service in EMI Shielding, RF Shielding, O-rings & EMI shielding gasket and component solutions for over 30 years and has developed unparalleled experience and expertise in design, manufacture and support.

    Support Provided

    Victoria, MD contacted the Growth Hub in relation to the new SEBB Grant as they were looking to expand their knitted wire mesh product range.  A new machine would cost in the region of £30,000.

    • SEBB Grant awarded – to purchase a Tritex Knitting Machine of £8595.
    • LoCASE Grant awarded – 2 x Moulding Press £8326
    • Employee attendance at GH Advanced Twitter & Linked in workshops
    • UKTi – helped to secure the Kemtron.de website in Germany
    • MGP – Grant to develop a leadership training programme

    Business Support Benefits

    • Revenue in the knitted wire mesh product range has doubled
    • Employed 2 new staff
    • Increase in though put and efficiency machinery of moulding productivity resulting in a 15% increase in turnover in this part of the business
    • Improved staff capabilities in social media channels
    • Lifted the knowledge and understanding of the middle management team helping them to take on additional responsibility to free us the Directors to look more strategically at the business.
    • German website allows them to promote themselves as Germany company and develop their export market.

    The Growth Hub are an invaluable source of one stop information.  We have used them incredibly successfully to help us develop the business and to provide support and assistance.

    Victoria Tsoi, Managing Director


  • Hall Brothers of Colchester Ltd


    Builders and Joiners

    The Journey

    Hall Brothers is a family run joinery company servicing customers in Essex, Suffolk and Cambridge for over 50 years- with a proud reputation for exceptional standard of design, traditional craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail.

    Being a small family run company with around 10 full time staff, over the past 10 years or so since the last recession they have struggled to make headway with investing in new capital machinery and pushing forward with new larger projects.

    Support Provided

    The company was introduced to Jacqui from the Growth Hub by their Business Banking Manager as they were looking to diversify their current product range and introduce new larger bespoke staircases to meet new and existing customer demand.

    They also identified gaps in their marketing strategy – a need to improve brand awareness and improved marketing to reach both on and offline customers.  Jacqui helped to organize:-

    • SEBB Grant – £8400 was awarded to part fund the cost of a sliding panel table saw – with increased production capabilities
    • MGP Grant – £2100 to part fund external expertise/marketing consultation

    They continue to work with Jacqui when new projects arise.

    Business Support Benefits

    • Increase in revenue by 15% – They are able to quote for jobs previously they would not have been able to look at i.e. thicker/bigger staircases
    • Reduce the lead time from 16 weeks to 14 weeks
    • Employed 1 new member of staff and looking to take on an apprentice/skilled person later this year.

    Working with The BEST Growth Hub has been a positive experience. The whole process was made easy with the help and guidance of everyone involved.  We would have absolutely no hesitation in contacting Jacqui and the Growth hub for any future projects.

    Phillip Hall, Director


  • HA Acoustics


    HA Acoustics specializing in environmental noise monitoring, impact assessments, architectural acoustic solutions and sound insulation testing

    The Journey

    A young Essex based environmental consultancy, operating in the niche field of acoustics since 2013, handling projects nationwide. In November 2018, we gained United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) endorsement to operate as a Testing Laboratory for Sound Insulation Testing of new-build and conversions to residential, enabling sign-off under Part E of the Building Regulations.

    Support Provided

    The problem was that the implementation of this new service area led to requirements for new equipment and accounting support. Best Growth Hub’s Jacqui Stimpson recognized our growth potential and we applied for:-

    • Keep+ Grant – to purchase the dodecahedron speaker and the sound level meter (as seen in use in the photographs)
    • Attended a 2 day finance workshop- which taught our director the importance of splitting payments to create straight lines and to move to a digital tax system, ahead of tax-goes-digital and which has enabled monthly P&L accounts to be produced.
    • Jacqui continues to work with us letting us know of anything else that can help our growth.

    Business Support Benefits

    • Increased our ability to work with global entities such as Proctor & Gamble, Molton Brown, Wilmott Dixon and Buro Happold.
    • Enabled our new UKAS Sound Insulation testing service to produce an increase in turnover
    • Employ more local staff to help cope with demand.

    For our young company, support from the Best Growth Hub’s Jacqui Stimpson has been invaluable helping us access funding which we didn’t know was available and giving us confidence to invest in the business to take it to the next level

    Stuart Nixon – Director & Principal Acoustician


  • Green Recycling Ltd


    Waste Management and Recycling Solutions


    The Journey

    Green Recycling Ltd provides a wide range of tailor made waste management and recycling solutions to local businesses, schools and colleges throughout the South East of England. With over 30 years’ experience the Company is at the forefront of Waste and Recycling technology, investing in state of the art equipment to help provide extra-ordinary levels of service to its client base.

    Support Provided

    Paula, MA & Rob, Director met Jacqui from the Growth Hub at the Heybridge Business Networking Meeting.  A further meeting was arranged whereby they identified a number of different projects that would help to grow the business and various grants that would be applicable.

    • SEBB Grant – £7496.40 premises development – increase storage space
    • LoCASE Grant – £20,000.00 to part fund the purchase of a Polythene Rotor remover

    Business Support Benefits

     The Grant funding has really helped the business grow and improve recycling rates particularly in the separate plastic recyclable grades resulting in:

    • Improved separation and quality of plastic recyclables which has enabled the business to increase the recycling of plastic grades.
    • Cost savings from reduced disposal costs due to the improved recycling percentages
    • By improving quality we have become more competitive – helping our customers to reach their own recycling targets.
    • Increase in new customers –The additional storage space has enabled us to target schools and colleges to supply them with bespoke portable compactors helping them lower their costs and reduce their carbon footprint.
    • 20% increase in turnover this year & Increased profitability from additional sales and reduced disposal costs
    • Creating new jobs locally

    We are so glad we met Jacqui otherwise we wouldn’t have known about the funding that was available. Jacqui regularly keeps in touch to make sure we are taking advantage of everything that is out there to support our business.

    Paula Foster, Management Accountant


  • Commodity Technical Services Ltd


    Provider of UKAS accredited Laboratory analysis of foodstuffs.

    The Journey

    Established for 18 months, the business had gained UKAS (government) accreditation for a small number of tests on foods. We required additional capital for specialist equipment to enable the expansion of accredited in-house tests offered. The additional equipment will enable the business to compete with other established Laboratories.

    Support Provided

    A meeting was held with Jaqcui where we identified grants that may be of benefit to the business.  The SEBB Grant, was deemed as suitable to assist with the purchase of an HPLC (High performance liquid chromatography) machine.

    The support for CTS Ltd is ongoing; so far they have received 10K in grant funding!  Dr Sage now also sits on the Steering Committee for the Growth Hub helping to shape the future support for local businesses.

    Business Support Benefits

    The grant funding has accelerated the business development dramatically. Since the installation of the equipment:-

    • 2 additional staff have been employed.
    • UKAS accreditation for the new tests is expected to be gained by Oct this year.
    • Once accreditation is achieved, an increase in turnover of 65K-75K is forecast.
    • A profit margin of 75% is expected, compared to 16% currently achieved by using 3rd party laboratories.
    • Additional sales staff are currently being sought to assist with marketing of the new suite of tests.

    We were approached by Jacqui Stimpson of the Best Growth Hub. The advice we received allowed us to access funding that we did not previously know was available. The funding has allowed us to fast track the expansion of the business and to increase profitability.

    Dr Andrew Sage, Director


  • Starr Brothers Films

    The Journey

    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.

    Support provided

    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

  • Vimpex Ltd

    The Journey:

    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.

    Support provided:

    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

    The Journey

    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. 

    Support provided

    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

    The Journey

    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.

    Support provided

    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

    The Journey

    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.

    Support provided

    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.

    Tarte de Fleurs

  • E. Christian & Company Ltd

    The Landscape
    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.

    The Challenge
    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.

    Business Support
    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.

    The Journey

    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.

    Support provided

    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 Journey

    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.

    Support Provided

    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


    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.

    Support Provided 

    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.

    Support Provided

    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!

    The Journey

    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.

    Support Provided

    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.” 

SEBB Successful Stories