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APRIL 2014

Small business supplement




Business and management education Tailored Business Growth Plan One to one business support Peer networking and learning opportunities Specialist workshops

We are currently recruiting for the programme starting in Autumn 2014. For more information about For more information about the 10,000 Small Businesses Programme the 10,000 Small Businesses Programme email: or call 0121 204 3225

We are currently recruiting for the programme starting in September 2014. email: or call 0121 204 3225

Apply today:




Small business is GREAT in the West Midlands

Foreword by Matthew Hancock, Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise

mall businesses are crucial to the success of the UK economy. The contribution is huge: small enterprises make up 99 percent of private sector businesses, generating around one third of private sector turnover, and accounting for half of private sector jobs. They provide economic growth and help generate prosperity. Of course, the impact of the recession was felt keenly by small businesses, but employers showed great resilience through the difficult times and business owners are increasingly confident in their outlook. We want to help where we can and the Government has taken a number of steps to make it easier to start and grow a business. Here in the West Midlands, latest figures available show an increase of almost seven per cent in the number of small businesses since 2010, bringing the total number in the region to 379,000. Reflecting the national trend, the number of new businesses registered continues to outstrip the number of firms closing their doors as the economic upturn continues. On the ground, this means that 64,000 private sector jobs have been created in the West Midlands since 2010. Most small businesses tell us they are aiming to increase in size and around one fifth of small firms say they have big ambitions and are determined to grow. For fledgling businesses to survive and then to make sure they thrive in the future, many need support and advice to help them face the particular issues and barriers to the growth they want to achieve. There are never enough hours in the day when building a business and it can be difficult and time consuming to find the right help at the right time. With that in mind we launched the Business is

Here in the West Midlands, latest gures available show an increase of almost seven per cent in the number of small businesses since 2010, bringing the total number in the region to 379,000
Matthew Hancock

>>Matthew Hancock, Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise

GREAT Britain campaign to bring that support and advice together in one place: uk. The Business is GREAT Britain website provides information about the range of support

available from Government and partners. The campaign celebrates stories of entrepreneurial spirit in action, showcasing real examples of how small businesses have successfully harnessed the help available and we hope it inspires

others to do the same. We want to build confidence among small businesses, to support and encourage them to grow their business, lead, nurture their staff and teams, and export and enter new markets. We also

encourage and guide businesses to identify sources of finance through the range of packages designed to stimulate investment and growth - cutting the costs of doing business in Britain. We want businesses in the West Midlands to feel proud about the job they do and their contribution to the region and the British economy as a whole, as well as feeling confident that the rest of Britain is behind them all the way. Business is GREAT Britain is here to help our innovative entrepreneurs take the next step in their growth, to make the most of their ideas and create real economic wealth for them and for Britain. Read on to see how small businesses are building a successful future and how others can do it too.



Unlocking your business potential

igh quality, practically focused business and management education designed specifically for entrepreneurs and business owners. Universities Minister, David Willetts, recently praised the partnership between the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme and Aston University as a shining example of how leading universities can benefit small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) and drive economic growth, in his keynote speech at the Universities UK Conference on 3rd April, 2014. The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme is fully-funded by the Goldman Sachs Foundation. The 10,000 Small Businesses programme is targeted at small businesses and social enterprises with clear ambitions to expand. The goal of the programme is to provide you with the tools and resources to help you lay the foundation for long-term sustainable growth and job creation. You will receive: n Approximately 100 hours of business and management education n Support to develop a Growth Plan customised for your own business n One-to-one business support n Unique networking and peer learning opportunities with alumni of growth businesses n Specialist workshops

A really great balance of new knowledge, learning, support and most of all condence for business growth
Emma Jennings, The Studio Venue Company Limited

>>Karen Hughes, Harco Engineering Limited and Prof Mark Hart, Aston Business School

Creating a strategy for growth

Karen Hughes, Harco Engineering Limited Overview: Harco Engineering Limited is a precision engineering company based in Brierley Hill in the Black Country, manufacturing one off bespoke items. Karen joined the Midlands 4th cohort of 10,000 Small Businesses programme in March 2013. Challenges: In the current economic climate Harco Engineering faced a number of challenges around cash flow and staffing. The 10,000 Small Businesses programme helped Karen to take time out from the business in order to help her put in place strategic plans to grow the business. Results: Since completing the programme Harco Engineering has successfully recruited an Operations Manager to implement improved processes on the shop floor. Harco have also invested in new piece machinery which will increase their turnover and aid their growth. Karen feels she has personally benefitted from the programme through increased confidence and awareness of the number of avenues open to them to support their business growth. Karen said The programme offers tremendous support and a wealth of knowledge that is immense, if anyone is considering applying I would strongly recommend it you wont regret it .

>>A unique network of growth businesses

Interested in discovering more about the 10,000 Small Businesses programme?

A superbly executed and facilitated programme. We are undoubtedly better equipped to achieve signicant growth and generate prots that allow us to reinvest and create jobs
>>A practical business management education

ATTEND a Preview Event to understand how the programme can benet you and your business, meet the delivery team, hear from a previous participant, ask questions and network with other likeminded business owners. Wednesday 7 May 6pm at The Studio, 7 Canon Street, Birmingham. B2 5EP

To book your place call 0121 204 3225 or e-mail 10ksb@aston. We are currently recruiting for the programme starting in September 2014. For more information about the 10,000 Small Businesses Programme please contact us on:

Wednesday 21 May 8am at Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, 75 Harborne Road, Email: Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3DH Telephone: 0121 204 3225 Tuesday 3 June 6pm at The Studio, 7 Canon Street, Birmingham. B2 5EP CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS IS: FRIDAY 27 JUNE 2014

Dan Barber, Standout 



Dragons Den investor, designer and entrepreneur Kelly Hoppen MBE has given her support to the Business is GREAT Britain campaign, launched by the Government to demonstrate the wealth of support and advice available to small businesses around the country

ELLY is passionate about entrepreneurs and encouraging them to follow their dreams and start their own businesses. She said: Ive been running my own business now for 38 years and gained a lot of experience which I want to share with others by supporting the governments Business is GREAT Britain campaign. I was 16 when I started out and knew nothing about running my own business so I think its important to impart what Ive learned to others to help them succeed. Kellys Top Tips for Small Business Success: 1 Believe in Yourself Be passionate about your big idea and believe you can make your business happen! Talk it through with family, friends and anyone you know whos taken a similar route. Starting out in business, whether its from scratch or buying a going concern, can be intimidating, so any way you can benefit from other peoples experience, good or bad, will help you. If your instincts tell you your idea will make a positive impact in the marketplace, have the self-belief to go for it. 2 Do Your Research Find out as much as you can about your potential customers and what they want. Do this constantly to reinvent yourself and your brand, and build your customer base. Learn from your competitors, see what theyre providing. Rather than replicate what they do, decide how your offer is different and better. There is always room to expand and improve your product or service. Explore the marketplace, decide where and how you choose to sell your product. Find out about any restrictions or regulations youll need to comply with to get the most out of your efforts. Are you trading in the UK alone or are you considering exporting overseas? Investigate which markets will give you the best opportunities for expansion and look at the approach of businesses working in these markets already. 3 Plan, Plan, Plan Think about your ambitions. Create a good business plan right from the start. It will give you direction and goals to aim for. You can take risks, but they should be calculated and fit into the wider company vision.

Find out as much as you can about your potential customers and what they want. Do this constantly to reinvent yourself and your brand, and build your customer base
Kelly Hoppen

Finding support and advice from people who know

Potential investors respond favourably to a well-structured, well informed plan. If you are looking for finance it will pay to communicate your aspirations clearly. Ask someone outside the project and with the relevant experience to read it over the plan and provide a fresh perspective. Strategic planning is a must to keep you on track. Develop a strategy for the longer term so you know where you are headed with all aspects of the business, be it sales, marketing, building your team or R&D. This will help maintain your focus. Plan time regularly away from the front line to reflect on how things are going, whether targets and objectives are still realistic or relevant. If not, then have the confidence to be flexible and make changes as circumstances alter. Look ahead and anticipate the need for change. 4 Be Confident, Passionate & Resilient Running your own business needs hard work, commitment and tenacity. Have the diversity in the business to keep yourself fresh and inspired. Your passion rubs off on

everyone else and keeps your team motivated too. Dont be afraid to face a challenge and when things dont work out, dont waste time dwelling on the issue, move on. Take the lesson from the experience and use it to help you regroup and move forward. Dont give up! 5 Have a Strong Team Around You You cant do everything on your own, so concentrate on what you are good at and find the best people to do the rest. The whole team will be more productive, efficient and happy to be part of the business. Identify the skills, qualities and experience you need in your employees and make developing them part of your strategy. And being the entrepreneur doesnt exclude you from improving your own leadership skills. Your business will reap the benefits. It can be lonely at the top and running your own business can take over your life. Sharing the responsibility with your trusted team members gives you support at work as well as the key to a life outside. 6 Take care of the pennies It may seem obvious, but keep costs low and avoid wasting money on unnecessary purchases. Bookkeeping is essential from the outset so you keep track of your finances. Cash flow problems can kill many an otherwise healthy business. If finance is not your strong point, make sure you develop these skills and work with others to support you in this area. n Dont be afraid to seek help when it comes to planning for growth. Advice, expertise and funding are crucial to taking the right steps to a successful future for your business. You can find more information on the support and advice available through Government services and agencies at uk.



Barkley Plastics set for world domination with help from HVM Catapult
RADING since 1965, Barkley Plastics has a long and successful history, offering the highest quality of moulding solutions to a range of sectors including automotive, industrial, IT, manufacturing, inventions and retail including the likes of Marks and Spencer. Having survived the recession, the Highgate-based company was keen to look at ways that it could regenerate growth. Barkley Plastics recognised the importance of working strategically and worked with WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group) to gain access to new research, technology and diversify into new markets. This allowed the company to benefit from their European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Innovation Programme. WMGs leading SME team has been working with Birmingham-based, Barkley Plastics, for over a year in a collaboration which has led to an increased turnover of more than half a million pounds for Barkley Plastics and the creation of new jobs. Based at the University of Warwick, WMG is one of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVM Catapult)s world class centres. The HVM Catapult was established in 2011 and is a strategic initiative with the aim to revitalise the UKs manufacturing industry, with over 200 million of government investment. The HVM Catapult network consists of seven leading technology and innovation centres across the country with HQ based in Shirley, near Birmingham which works together to help UK businesses develop innovative products and manufacturing processes. Through the Innovation Programme, Barkley Plastics had access to Britains leading technological expertise and SME team at WMG. It used optical microscopy testing to assess the validity of its patented in-mould welding- which used WMGs additive layer manufacturing facilities to create prototypes for a revolutionary hand held razor, medical devices and load tested a new Step Stool project. The company has also investigated a new process of manufacturing

>>Additive layer manufacturing (3D printing) at WMG

Great businesses dont just have a plan. They refresh and renew them. They take advice. And they make the time to look at the longterm. Small businesses play a crucial role in developing new ideas and stimulating change. This innovation helps to create jobs and improve productivity. Any business with a new idea or product will need to research, develop and commercialise it but this can be expensive, risky and time-consuming, especially if it requires investment or expert knowledge or skills. Business is GREAT is helping to make it easier for small businesses to translate great concepts into market-ready products and services by helping them fund the development and protection of ideas and accelerate innovation.


interior trim components for Bentley Motors. Technical Director at Barkley Plastics, Maurice Cassidy said: It is imperative that firms today continuously evolve and innovate. Access to government support and equipment has been invaluable to us on our journey to create new and exciting products for our clients. Other companies in the region should look at what is possible in the new facility. It has worked extremely well for us. Head of SME Programmes at

WMG, Dr Mark Swift comments: The success of the partnership with Barkley Plastics highlights the great potential we have to help companies grow. We are delighted that our research capabilities can be applied to help industry, particularly manufacturers in the West Midlands. Today, Barkley Plastics produces in excess of 80 million mouldings each year and has a facility with over 35 injection moulding presses that range from 5 to 520 tonnes. It takes customer concepts to deliver services from simple 3D drawings, to prototypes and full cost solutions. Barkley Plastics distributes its mouldings throughout the UK into Europe and across the world. High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Chief Executive Dick Elsy said: The High Value Manufacturing Catapult bridges the gap between innovation, where the UK has traditionally been strong, and industrial scale manufacturing, where real wealth can be created. Through our seven technology and innovation centres two of which are in the West Midlands we provide companies of all sizes with access to the most innovative manufacturing systems and equipment, combined with leading specialised research and expertise, set in an environment of collaboration. This takes significant risk out of innovation and thus allows progressive businesses, like Barkley Plastics, and other SMEs to get their innovative products and solutions ready for market.

Find out more www.

n GrowthAccelerator Connects you to external advisers who listen, diagnose and help you focus on what will deliver growth. More than 9,000 companies have signed up. n Manufacturing Advisory Service Does what it says on the tin. More than 12,000 manufacturers have beneted from free reviews and tailored action plans. n Mentorsme Running a business is a lonely job. Talking to someone who has been there, done that can be a support and a sounding board. Heres where to find one. n Business finance What kind of finance might you need to fund your business plan? This guide explains the types of finance that are available. n Public sector financial support The website contains a handy reference tool to identify available sources of public sector financial support. n Private sector finance There is also a useful reference tool to identify available sources of private sector finance. n ICAEW, ACCA and ICAS - the Business Finance Advice Scheme is run by the three participating accountancy bodies. You can find an expert finance adviser in your local area by searching their directories.

>>Additive layer manufacturing (left), injection moulding and, right, the nished products 



NEW growth strategy for Rugby-based Automotive Insulations gave the company new goals, but tailored help from a government backed service has made sure the senior team is equipped to achieve them. Results have been exceptional, with record profits this year, brand new premises about to open and innovative plans for new projects in the pipeline. The company specialises in designing, developing and manufacturing products which manage sound and temperature across the automotive, marine and industrial sectors. It manufactures its products in Britain, Sweden and Germany and operates internationally through clients including Bentley, Jaguar Land Rover and 3M. Half of its supplier spend is with businesses in Britain. Originally founded 48 years ago to supply parts to the automotive industry, the company underwent a management buyout in 2006 which left it in need of direction and focus. Managing Director Jim Griffin struggled to identify a plan for growth. Despite a turnover of 5 million, profitability was low and something clearly had to change. Embarking on a programme with an investment bank in 2012 to create a new business strategy, Jim recognised that in order to breathe life into the plan, his team needed the right skills and mindset. That is where GrowthAccelerator came into the frame. The Government-backed service matches experts in business to companies with high growth potential to provide a bespoke programme of coaching, connectivity, workshops and leadership training, all designed to help business owners and directors ensure their companies fulfil their potential. Jim started working with manufacturing expert and GrowthAccelerator coach Clive Reynolds to put the changes recommended by the service into practice. Business development coaching combined with leadership and management training helped to bring greater focus, empowerment and enthusiasm to the senior team. Workshops and tailored one-to-one sessions identified and developed individual capabilities to help maximise effective management. Financefocused sessions also helped management without a financial background to embrace effective reporting and budgeting. Jim says: The team is now taking what they learnt and distilling this through their own teams to deliver market, product and geographical diversification. Growth coach Clive Reynolds has had a major impact too. Hes allowed me to leave the day-to-day operations to others for the first

Tailored management training puts Automotive Insulations in fast lane

>>Automotive Insulations Managing Director, Jim Grin in the Rugby factory.

time, says Jim. He is my conscience on the management team. We dont always see eye to eye but thats good. We chat about where were going and how were doing. His wealth of experience is fantastic and I will continue to work with him. Company growth has been impressive. With a turnover goal to reach 41 million by 2017 it was critical that the service helped to deliver financial results too. Jim continues: In 2011 our turnover was 5 million. Two years later, we met forecasts of 12 million but significantly, profits were our biggest since 1966 when the company first started trading. We are looking at 15 million turnover and doubling profits this year. Our staff has grown from 40 to 120 too. Growth was coming but the sustainability and profitability of the

Inspirational leadership will drive a business forward, just as a lack of leadership will hold a business back. The qualities that make a natural leader are dierent from those shown by some of the most eective managers. Sometimes it takes an objective view to recognise where the gaps are. Business is GREAT helps individuals and companies raise their game, facilitating leadership and management training and business development master classes for executives and directors of small businesses. business growth is as a result of GrowthAccelerators support. Going forward in 2014, Automo-


tive Insulations investment of 1.8 million in the new factory, equipment and new technology is set to reap rewards with production capacity already sold. June will also see the opening of the companys brand new innovation centre in Rugby. Working in collaboration with local universities, projects will aim to research and develop new processes, materials and parts. The centre will provide employment for some existing company staff. There are plans to create jobs for graduates and apprentices in years to come. Jim concludes: GrowthAccelerator has had a huge impact on how we run the company and the positive effects on our growth are clear to see. Id recommend the service to any small business looking to make the most of its potential.

Find out more

n Apprenticeships More and more companies are hiring apprentices and harnessing available Government support. n Small Business Recruitment Service Provides individual support plus advice about schemes such as wage incentives, youth contracts and the Work Choice programme. n UK Commission for Employment Skills This is a good starting point for any company planning to develop its leadership and management skills. n ACAS It pays to stay on top of employment laws and regulations. Free impartial advice for employers and employees can be obtained from ACAS.

>>Left: Jim Grin, MD; Matthew Small of developers Hamdon Gate; Kevin Westwood, Operations Director, with Rugby MP, Mark Pawsey at the groundbreaking for the new site. Centre: Automotive Insulations new headquarters under construction. The 65,000sq ft premises will be formally opened in June. Right: Manufacturing at Automotive Insulations plant in Sweden



oss Edwards, Managing Director of Walsall-based IT support company, Proactive ITS, has found taking on an apprentice beneficial to his business in many ways. Easy and cost effective to do, the experience has been extremely positive and nearly three years down the line he has gained a full time, permanent member of staff who is really knowledgeable about the business and is making a valuable contribution to the team. Confident he can repeat the success, Ross has recently taken on a second apprentice. Proactive ITS Ltd was established in 2006, after Ross had spent two years as a sole trader. Key to expanding the company was gathering a team with the right skills and ability at its heart to provide a great service to customers. He explains the decision to take on an apprentice: We liked the idea of A business is only as good as its people. An engaged, motivated workforce doesnt just happen by accident. Many small businesses are held back from hiring sta because they believe the regulations around employing people are too burdensome or dicult. Many also report that finding people with the right skills is a barrier to business growth. GREAT is helping businesses to find, develop and retain the talents and skills to build a successful team. training someone up and moulding them to do what we need. In 2011, the company benefited from the National Apprenticeship Service which supports and co-ordinates the delivery of Apprenticeships throughout England in more than 170 industries and 1,500 roles. Proactive ITS took on Joe Farnell, then aged 17, on an Intermediate Apprenticeship in Business Administration. The company used the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers of 16 to 24 year olds of 1,500 when taking on Joe, which was very helpful. The grant definitely made taking on an apprentice a lot more attractive, Ross says. It helped with cash flow and assisted us in covering the costs of employing an apprentice. Taking on an apprentice proved more efficient than the usual method of recruitment. For a normal job, wed spend a lot of time interviewing and testing people. Choosing an apprentice is more straightforward we know they havent got the skills initially, but were prepared to teach them so its not an issue. Joe finished his Apprenticeship in December 2012 and is now employed as an IT support technician with Proactive ITS. Ross is highly complimentary about Joes progress: When he first came to us, Joe had a background interest in IT but his knowledge wasnt complete. We dropped him in at the deep end as we are a small outfit and he was forced to learn who the customers are and all their different requests. There was a lot of learning on the job with no two days the same. Joe picked up everything he needed to know and is now an excellent employee working full time with us. Proactive ITS have clearly reaped the benefit of having an apprentice in the form of improved customer


>>Joe Farnell, the companys rst apprentice now IT Support Technician at Proactive ITS.

Talented apprentices help grow Walsall rm

The grant denitely made taking on an apprentice a lot more attractive. It helped with cash ow and assisted us in covering the costs of employing an apprentice
n Apprenticeships Theres a wealth of information for employers about hiring apprentices, and about the Government support available. n Small Business Recruitment Service Provides individual support to small businesses, plus detailed advice about employment schemes such as wage incentives, youth contracts and the Work Choice programme. n First time employers The website contains a useful list of six things you should do if you are employing sta for the rst time. n ACAS It pays to stay on top of employment laws and regulations. There is a wide range of free impartial advice for employers and employees on the website. second apprentice. Seventeen-yearold Laura Gilmore is already three months into formal training at college, to be followed by learning on the job and looks set to achieve a BTEC extended diploma in ICT Systems and Principles by the end of the year. Ross now has a team of six full-time and two part-time staff as the business continues to grow.

>>Managing Director Ross Edwards of Proactive ITS, a Walsall-based IT support company

Find out more www.

Ross Edwards feedback. Having an extra team member means more customers receive better and quicker technical support, which they have said makes them happier with the service. Having Joe on the team is also enabling the company to grow and diversify into other areas, as Ross explains: Having an apprentice relieves the pressure on other members of staff who are able to focus on growing the companys software development side. We wouldnt be in a position to do this without him. I would urge other businesses to consider apprenticeships as a great way to grow your company. In 2013, Proactive ITS recruited its

>>Laura Gilmore and Joe Farnell current and past apprentices of Proactive ITS 



Digital business takes export route to worldwide growth

OW Internet is a thriving international digital marketing agency based in Birminghams Jewellery Quarter. The company specialises in web design, social media and search engine optimisation both in the UK and internationally. WOWs success has been cemented since the decision to target sales in overseas markets, a move made easier and more effective thanks to government backed advice and support for exporters. Company CEO Qasim Majid started the business in 2007 and its been expanding ever since. The team at WOW will be 18 strong following a recent merger, and they are optimistic about the future as an exporter in the global marketplace: three years ago WOW wasnt exporting at all. Now exports account for about 30 percent of turnover. Qasim says: My perception is that if SME business owners think outside the box and are prepared to look further afield to international markets, they can most definitely win business and contracts abroad. Being a UK business based in the Midlands, there is still a huge demand for British intellectual property as its considered in very high regard. When we started out, although we had some interest in our services from overseas through the website we werent consciously developing sales beyond UK. Ad hoc export sales increased gradually over a couple of years but it wasnt until about a year ago that we made the strategic decision to target new markets abroad. Its important to do your homework before making a significant change like this in the direction of the company. We always like to keep ahead of the game and we reckoned the potential opportunities for us in For too many companies, exporting is seen to be a perilous leap in the dark. But it isnt. And there is emphatic proof from the companies who are succeeding overseas that its a key way to break into new markets and achieve sustainable growth. Export markets present enormous economic potential for small businesses in the UK. Those that export see a signicant boost in productivity and an increase in the lifespan of their products, and they go on to become more competitive than other rms. Many small companies lack the contacts, expertise and resources of larger businesses, so help boosting online presence to increase internet trading, researching new country markets and support navigating export paperwork are some of the essential ways Business is GREAT is helping make Britains businesses internationally competitive.

>>UAE is one of the new markets that Birmingham-based WOW Internet is exporting to


the Middle East were considerable. We needed to establish whether our own thoughts were backed up by the facts. A call to West Midlands UK Trade & Investment opened the door to expert help. Many thousands of SMEs in the UK are benefiting from export activity and have used UKTI support to help them get started or expand. UKTI export adviser Paul Meikle has been WOWs dedicated point of contact throughout their export journey. He was able to provide professional advice on such matters as financial subsidies, export documentation, contacts in overseas markets, overseas visits, e-commerce, export training and market research. Qasim is full of praise for the service WOW has received. Our export adviser Paul has been brilliant. UKTI was invaluable to us in researching Dubai and UAE. We felt these countries offered us the opportunity to establish an edge in a new and growing market and UKTI helped identify and reach our targets. UKTI has provided support in many different ways, helping with the cost of travel to explore the market and providing advice on doing business in the Middle East to avoid the pitfalls of going unprepared into an unfamiliar

culture. Backed by a wealth of expert knowledge, Paul has provided us with feedback on our export plans. He also guided us through putting together a business strategy to keep WOW on track with its export development. In two years time our projected turnover is 1.8 million. Undoubtedly, exporting has

boosted our organic growth and propelled us so much faster along the road to where we want to go. Added to that, the support weve had from UKTI has enabled us to come even further in a very short time. Id recommend any small business to consider exporting as a way to grow and UKTI are the perfect people to help.

Find out more www.

n Meet an export advisor You can arrange a face-to-face meeting with an export advisor on the website. n UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) The rst port of call for all UK companies about exporting. n International Festival for Business A series of 150+ B2B events taking place throughout June-July 2014 which include free tailored export advice. n Open to export A community-driven service for small and medium sized businesses, looking for help and support in exporting from the UK. n UK Export Finance - The UKs export credit agency which provides credit insurance policies, political risk insurance and guarantees on bank loans. n British Chambers of Commerce Provides extensive advice and publications about export services, documentation, training and trade missions.

>>From left: Jenny Khanom, Lead Digital Designer; Liam McCarthy, Junior SEO Engineer; Qasim Majid, CEO; Alan Bagley, Development Manager; Navpreet Singh, Web Developer of WOW Internet, based in Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham




MAS support helps Warrior open new doors as turnover doubles

Easier access to nance is top of the agenda for small businesses with ambitions to expand. Theres a whole package of government backed measures designed to improve the supply of aordable credit to SMEs and encourage more people to invest in them. The established banks are increasingly complemented by new, non-bank alternative lenders unlocking nance for small viable businesses. Debt and equity funding solutions, trade credit providers, supply-chain nance schemes, invoice-nance platforms and peer-to-peer lenders are just some of the diverse sources of funding providing small businesses with the means to grow.

arrior Doors, which designs, produces and installs a range of high security stainless steel, aluminum and fully-glazed doors, is on course to hit 2.5m of sales this year after its rebranding helped it diversify into a host of new markets, creating ten new jobs in the process. The British manufacturing firm has also just relocated to a dedicated 18,000 sq ft facility and showroom on the Kings Road industrial estate in Tyseley, Birmingham. Supported by the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), the Birmingham-based company has been able to fund vital product testing, which in turn enabled them to achieve an internationallyrecognised intruder resistance security rating. They are one of only a few firms to achieve this quality mark - a major advantage when selling to Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) clients. They have also secured the prestigious ISO 9001 quality management authorisation via the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) covering quality control across design, manufacturing and installation processes. Since 2008, the company has been working with MAS which supports manufacturers based in England, with a team of specialist manufacturing advisors dedicated to helping the business improve and grow. The companys doors were put to the test in real-life during the riots of 2012, when a jeweller was subjected to three different raids featuring sledgehammers, armed robbers and a 20-man attack. The CCTV footage revealed the strength of the products and illustrates why they are in such high demand after the unsuccessful attacks. Managing Director Brett Barratt said: The growth has enabled the company to double its capacity and as part of the 1m total investment, the relocation to Kings Road industrial estate has offered us double the space with an improved


>>Warrior Doors MD Brett Barratt with their new Trumpf TruLaser Tube 5000 cutter

layout. We have also installed a state-of-the-art tube cutting laser, extra assembly jigs and a new powder-coating plant. Government support has proved to be instrumental in the companys expansion - even managing to help recruit some key members of staff allowing the senior management more time to focus on the things that really matter. By working with both MAS and GrowthAccelerator we have been able to take a more strategic look at the business and what needed to be done, to ensure we managed its growth effectively. This has involved the development of a new sales and marketing plan, a rebrand and diversification into new markets. They include the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) sector and high-end retailers such as jewellers,

n British Business Bank - A state-backed economic development bank which works with over 70 private and public partners to unlock 10 billion of extra funding for smaller businesses. n Enterprise Finance Guarantee - Encourages nance providers including banks to lend to viable small business who would otherwise be declined due to lack of sucient trading records or collateral. n Start Up Loans - Have helped more than 15,000 entrepreneurs to get their business up and running, oering loans, mentoring and advice. n Enterprise Capital Funds - For high growth small business in the software and cloud computing, science, technology and engineering sectors. n Venture Capital Catalyst Fund - designed to co-invest in funds that specialise in early stage venture capital so that more investment can rapidly be made available for small businesses. n Business Angel Co-Investment Fund - Makes angel and venture capital investment available for innovative start-up and early stage companies to bridge the equity gap. n Regional Growth Fund - Has allocated over 1 billion to SME grant funding schemes run locally and nationally to support SMEs in England to grow and create jobs. banks and bullion dealers. Barratt added: The results have been fantastic. Weve already landed in excess of 300,000 of contracts supplying bespoke security doors for high-end retailers

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and jewellers, as well as a major cash handling company. Weve also worked with a number of local authority areas in the West Midlands. Contracts have also been won for clients such as: museums, Cash Processing Centres (CPC), Transport for London and the NHS. Sales have more than doubled in two years, ten new jobs have taken the workforce up to 25 and the relocation provides the platform the company needs to grow for years to come. Warrior Doors secured 200,000 of Regional Growth Funding and Business Development Programme government support to help with the move. It is now setting its sights on maximising the LPS1175 Security Rating accreditation and its listing in the prestigious Red Book Live , the key directory for tested security products in the UK. Established since 1997, the firm employs a team of skilled CAD designers and engineers who work alongside architects and planners to ensure the aesthetics of the door complement what are believed to be amongst the strongest doors of their type, currently available in the UK market.

>>Warrior Doors designed, manufactured and installed secure communal doors at Russell House in Sandwell

>>The powder coating spray area in action also a new investment for Warrior Doors




nterns can help give your business a boost; research shows they bring fresh ideas, technical skills, flexibility and up to date theoretical knowledge all ready to put into practice*. The value interns bring is highly publicised and thousands of West Midlands based small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been making the most of the support, Aston University led, Graduate Advantage has offered over the last 10 years. JC Social Media, a high growth micro business, accessed Graduate Advantage support to source talented technology savvy interns. Owner and Managing Director, Jodie Cole said: I wanted to grow my business but didnt have the time. I originally approached Graduate Advantage in 2011 to help recruit a Social Media Assistant to assist managing some of my clients but also to bring some fresh creative ideas. This enabled me to share out my current client workload enabling me to focus on business development. Graduate Advantage, is building on its successful business model by offering organisations something new, postgraduate student internships. Our new postgraduate internships are part-funded by The European Regional Development Fund and one of a kind in the West Midlands supporting SMEs by

Business boosting interns

arranging flexible short term postgraduate internships, whilst offering up to 900 in financial support. Telford based national awarding organisation, Industry Qualifications were delighted with the support from their postgraduate intern: Our intern showed a lot of initiative and demonstrated excellent research skills. The product development departments output doubled since he joined the team and he picked up our processes and procedures really quickly. Norman Price, Deputy Chair of the West Midlands ERDF Local Management Committee said: For local businesses there are many benefits to be gained by working with our postgraduate students. Through arrangements such as internships, businesses can gain and learn from the knowledge and skills that the individuals bring, providing fresh thinking to normal business practice. The postgraduate internship activities are managed by Graduate Advantage and run by the universities of Aston and Wolverhampton drawing on the expertise and variety of masters programmes of both institutions. Professor Helen Higson OBE, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Aston University: This unique project is a fantastic contribution to the economy of the West Midlands and offers invaluable access to talented postgraduate students who bring their skills to make a difference in SMEs. It is also instrumental in supporting the region to develop the most employable global citizens. n To find out how you can benefit contact the Business Relationship Manager, Paul Jones p.jones5@ or telephone 0121 204 4767. *21% of SMEs who took in interns from June 2011 September 2012 selected a postgraduate student.

The Postgraduate Internship Project is part financed by the West Midlands European Regional Development Fund. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit

>>From left: The Postgraduate Internship Team: Paul Jones Business Relationship Manager, Christiane Iwersen Project Coordinator and Rachel McIntosh Project Manager

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