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Berkshire Growth Hub celebrates five-year milestone and record results

5 year success

 

Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub marked its 5th anniversary with a special event on Wednesday 4th December attended by over 50 of its partners and former clients. And the Growth Hub, which delivers free and impartial business support services to ambitious local businesses, certainly had plenty to celebrate.

Since it launched in 2014, the Growth Hub has supported over 2,720 small and medium sized businesses across Berkshire, helped create over 233 jobs and delivered an extensive programme of free one-to-one advice clinics and masterclasses. This year saw the Hub achieve its highest customer satisfaction results in the annual Growth Hub Evaluation Survey, with 91% of clients stating they would recommend the team to others and 91% proclaiming the support they received has had a positive impact on their business.

Held at the Thames Valley Science Park in Reading, the special birthday event featured a panel of speakers from some of Berkshire’s fastest growing businesses to talk about their business journeys and the support they have received from the Growth Hub. These included Luci Clayton-Jones from Double-Barrelled Brewery, Nick Coleman from Snaffling Pig, Debbie Walters from Intelligent Health and Simon Chandler from Creat3d Ltd.

Speaking at the event, Berkshire Growth Hub’s Manager Martin Hall said: “Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the county’s economy, which is why we deliver tailored advice and support to help ensure they continue to grow and prosper. It is testament to our success that so many of the businesses we have worked with are going from strength to strength. We look forward to helping thousands more businesses start-up, grow or scale-up over the next five years.”

The Berkshire Growth Hub has established a network of over 90 partner organisations, from the private and public sector, to work collaboratively to support the needs of Berkshire SMEs. A one-stop shop for business advice, the Hub and its partners have helped business owners with a range of challenges, including raising finance, improving productivity, increasing profitability, devising growth strategies, expanding their teams and exporting.

One local business to have benefited from the Growth Hub’s expertise is CREAT3D Ltd in Winnersh. The company, which provides additive manufacturing solutions (i.e. all things 3D printing), has completed the Growth Hub’s High Growth Programme and is now being supported via its ScaleUp Berkshire programme.

“The Growth Hub’s had a really positive impact on our business,” explains Simon Chandler, Managing Director of CREAT3D. “It’s been a busy twelve months, and the Growth Hub has really supported us. For example, we’ve just moved into a facility at Winnersh Triangle that’s about six times the size of our previous premises, we’ve doubled our team in size and the business on average is growing at about 45% year on year. I would definitely recommend the Berkshire Growth Hub as you can access free, independent advice that’s going to add value to your business.”

Snaffling Pig in Yattendon, West Berkshire, has also benefited from the Growth Hub’s services. With an initial budget of just £500 and a passion for pork-based snacks, the business has become one of the fastest growing food and drink businesses in the region in just five years. Today, its range of pork scratchings, sauces, beer and cider are being sold in John Lewis, Debenhams, Tesco and Sainsburys as well as pubs throughout the UK. Having just completed an extremely successful round of crowdfunding and company founder Nick Coleman winning Food & Drink Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the 2019 Great British Entrepreneur Awards, Snaffling Pig is on track to achieve its growth ambitions.  

Nick Coleman, Founder & CEO of Snaffling Pig, explains: “Accessing finance is one of the toughest challenges for any business, so we originally contacted the Berkshire Growth Hub for advice on grants. As a business owner, it can be difficult to know who to trust when you’re starting out, so surrounding yourself with a network of good people is important. The Growth Hub is a great free service, which is there when, and if, you need it. They are good at connecting you with the right organisations and were able to put us in touch with a trademark expert for advice on protecting our business. It is nice to know the team has your back!”

Another local business to have received support is MyWorkSpot in Maidenhead, which offers flexible office and coworking space in the town and has recently moved into its new 15,000 sq ft premises in Clyde House, Reform Road.

Will Ballantyne, co-founder of MyWorkSpot, explains: “The Growth Hub helped us in numerous ways. As part of their High Growth Programme, we were able to access regular sessions with a business mentor and one-to-one advice clinics on various subjects. They helped us identify areas for growth along with providing useful contacts for other challenges. The Growth Hub is a great resource for small businesses in the Thames Valley”.

Berkshire Growth Hub offers fully funded, impartial support services and expert advice to start-ups and established businesses in Berkshire. The service includes free clinics and masterclasses on a range of business issues, alongside a special High Growth programme to provide tailored support to SMEs with high growth potential.

Delivered by Oxford Innovation, the service is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

For further details on the Berkshire Business Growth Hub’s range of fully funded support services, including its High Growth Programme, click here or email info@berkshirebusinesshub.co.uk.

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