The first 12 months of a new business is often the hardest as business owners struggle to plan for anything other than survival. Support that was available during the start-up phase has vanished and business owners are left wondering what to do next. With recent ONS statistics showing an increase in both business births and business deaths, TEDCO is working to support new enterprises not just survive, but thrive.
TEDCO Business Support has helped thousands of new ventures get up and running in the North East, creating jobs and opportunities for individuals to succeed in the world of enterprise.
“Launching a business successfully is without doubt the number one priority of any entrepreneur,” comments Carole White, chief executive of TEDCO. “However, planning for growth at this early stage of a new venture really does give you the best chance for success by making start-up decisions based on the long-term goals you have for your business.
“TEDCO business advisors work tirelessly with new businesses to make future planning and scale-up opportunities a necessary part of the launch phase. We want to see businesses flourish but we also want to create enterprises with real ambition to create opportunities and bring value to the local economy. This is why the RGF-funded Start and Grow programme delivered by TEDCO has been so successful in the region. We help businesses set up and start trading, but also guide individuals through the difficult growth phase to develop into a successful long-term enterprise.”
ION is one such business. Founded by Rob Mathieson in August 2016, ION brings advanced enterprise cloud technologies to businesses and is a Salesforce registered consulting partner and Sage Live Implementation partner. The company helps businesses harness the power of CRM systems to truly maximise business potential and has grown to employ 14 members of staff in just 18 months thanks to a considered long-term vision from the founder and his team of investors.
Managing Director of ION, Rob Mathieson explains: “I actually started ION with a great deal of optimism but a hint of trepidation. I was a relatively experienced entrepreneur having previously run a successful technology company for a number of years, before it came to an end quite suddenly. Through the support of my existing network and TEDCO business advisors, Bill Hartshorne and Gordon Hanna, I talked through my idea for ION and rebuilt my confidence before setting out to launch 18 months ago.
“I really believed in the business model and knew there was a strong demand for the offering, to deliver CRM solutions for firms using cloud based technology. Within six months of the business launch it was clear that ION had real potential.
“It also became clear to me at this point that the growth of the business could not be realised on my own and I sought investment to really capitalise on what I saw as a number of key market opportunities.
“After securing investment with three key figures from the technology and business world in January 2017, ION has gone from strength to strength. We have increased staff numbers to 14 in our new premises at Dobson House in Gosforth and hope to double this figure within 12 months if our current growth forecasts within the energy, engineering, manufacturing and non-profit sectors prove correct.
“We are now an established and ambitious business but I still maintain a great deal of gratitude for help from all corners in those early days to really nurture confidence in my idea and ultimately see the potential for success.”
ION was supported by TEDCO as part of the Start and Grow programme, which is delivered by TEDCO Business Support in the North East and supported by the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). The programme is delivered throughout England by Cavendish Enterprise in areas where there are lower levels of business start-up to help new enterprises get up and running and develop new employment opportunities in the private sector with a range of services, including one-to-one mentoring, business planning and helping new ventures get investment ready.
Another business to have worked with TEDCO Business Support as part of the Start and Grow programme include freight forwarding specialists, LEDA Transport Solutions Ltd. Business owners John MacWhirter and Robert Cornell acted early to identify future opportunities within their North Tyneside business.
Co-founder of LEDA, John MacWhirter comments: “We knew from quite early on that our ambitions for LEDA Transport were big. We are a freight forwarding company but don’t manage a fleet of vehicles so it is really only our available resources and client portfolio that can limit growth, but of course we can’t grow one without expanding the other.
“With help from our business advisors and support from the North Tyneside Business Factory and TEDCO Business Support, we successfully applied for a Virgin StartUp loan to provide us with the capital we needed initially. Virgin StartUp offer government-backed low-cost business loans and is a programme exclusively delivered by TEDCO in the North East so we were fully supported in our application.
“Our client portfolio has grown by 30% over the last 12 months so we are glad we took the decision early to obtain premises just a few months after we started the business. Having a dedicated office space meant we could take on an apprentice within 18 months and plan to grow our workforce further when we hit growth targets to help scale-up our operations team. We have further touch points in place to look at more scale-up opportunities through investment in technology designed to expand our network.”
Both LEDA Transport Solutions and ION were supported in their growth and scale-up potential by TEDCO Business Support. To learn more about how TEDCO can help grow your business idea please visit www.tedco.org or call 0191 516 6102.