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Local entrepreneurs share stories of success

12 July 2022

People at a conference Show me Success event for SMEs

This month, we brought back our annual business event, ‘Show me Success’ – not just once, but twice.

With events held at the University of Northampton’s Engine Shed and at Woburn Safari Park, over 200 people gathered to learn from and celebrate the achievements of local business leaders.

We all recognize that Covid has had an immense impact on many people and businesses – still does today. The SEMLEP Growth Hub’s Show Me Success event was about hearing first-hand from business owners who took on challenges brought by the pandemic to create opportunity for themselves, their families and their employees.

Paul Heard at GCN Tipper hire told his story on rapid growth and how others can achieve that too in adverse conditions. GCN Tipper Hire aspired to grow rapidly to fulfil the demands of the HS2 rail project, but the pandemic affected the aggregates sector severely; large numbers of drivers and handlers were off work and national shutdowns were affecting the supply chain. Paul spoke about a very ‘clear and concise’ process to return to rapid expansion and emphasized the importance of having a ‘structured plan’ in place to approach change in a methodical way. With support from SEMLEP’s business adviser Carl Mayers, Paul’s business applied for and benefited from a Recovery and Resilience Grant.

Joshua Sprigg at Enferm, an agency specifically geared towards bringing people into healthcare jobs, shared his journey to becoming an entrepreneur. He shared his insights into the drive, determination and resourcefulness needed to scale a business. Key points included being a ‘risk taker’, but also seeking help where needed. Joshua worked closely with Business Adviser, Sandra Edwards, who he now refers to as his ‘business mother’. Data analysis is also key, Joshua commented: “data is changing everything for us” and it’s important that it’s monitored and reviewed to optimise performance and maximise scaling opportunities.

At the Woburn event, Justyna Sodel shared the business growth journey of her firm, award winning NN1 Personnel, having found a niche in the recruitment market to attract and recruit drivers for some of the largest logistics and transport companies in the area. Having benefitted from business support to review their plans and projections, grants as well as participating in business masterclasses, Justyna shared her top tips for business owners: 1. Don’t think you need to do it all on your own. There’s lots of support and advice out there for you. 2. Think about how you grow yourself first, to achieve growth in your business – it’s you that investors will invest in. 3. Look after yourself, beware of burn out – take time for your mental and physical health. You will reap the rewards.

Matt Pearson told his story of how he and Gabs founded a food business, Foxywings right within the lockdown period having lost his job in the summer of 2020. The husband-and-wife team were soon talk of the town as their kitchen-based business grew rapidly. With more restaurant and bar business owners considering options, FoxyWings teamed up with local bar owner, Tim Edwards and from this partnership FoxyWings Restaurant and Bar was born. Taking a perhaps unusual approach to raising funds, this team blew their initial targets out of the water, with their crowdfunder endeavours reaching 200% of their original targets.

Shortly after the event in Northampton Joshua Sprigg commented: “Show Me Success was a great local event driving knowledge sharing. Something I wish I had exposed myself to when starting out. From funding to strategy, HR and legal, you can gain a lot of advice from local communities, I encourage anyone out there to explore it.”

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