SME Growth . How is ERDF making a difference in Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly?
How is ERDF making a difference in Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly?
Article by Sonia Holmes | 22.09.2015
The Combined High Growth Coaching Programme offered intensive coaching and support for up to 30 days to high growth potential Small and Medium Enterprises and individuals looking to start a business. Experienced coaches with board level and sector experience offer a new perspective to a business and help with specific issues such as managing a step change, refining business models, identifying new markets, sourcing new technologies, extending geographical reach, building teams, developing a business plan and securing funding.
How is the project contributing to local growth?
Queens’ Award-winning Frugi, which designs and manufactures organic clothing for children and mothers, is one of the businesses that has benefitted from programme.
Lucy Jewson, founder and managing director of Frugi confirmed the business is extending its premises at the Wheel Vrose Business Park in Helston by over 8,000 square feet, more than three times the size of the existing site.
“Since our launch in 2004 we’ve experienced annual growth of almost 40 percent,” said Lucy. “The programme has been an invaluable source of support for our business as rapid growth requires very careful planning and management. It’s a nice problem to have of course and for Frugi the next stage in our development is to extend into these much larger premises.”
Frugi manufactures clothing for babies and mothers from ethically-sourced organic cotton. The business employs 50 people and last year recorded a £4.5m turnover.
Oxford Innovation business coach Peter Haycocks has been working with Lucy and her team for five years. From their base in Truro, Peter and his fellow Oxford Innovation specialist coaches have provided support to Frugi on a wide range of issues including e-commerce, recruitment and team-building, logistics and access to finance. They have guided Lucy on her journey from a Start Up to now well established and mature business.
Lucy said she is grateful for the support she and her team have received commenting: “One of the crucial lessons I have learnt is that a business can actually be at its most vulnerable when it is experiencing a period of growth. The pace of change can have an adverse impact on individuals within the team while methods of working that once proved perfectly successful may no longer be fit for purpose. Peter and his colleagues have used their expertise to guide us through all phases of the process and ensure we are well placed to capitalise on our growth potential.”
What has the project achieved to date?
Taking into account previous projects, Oxford Innovation has worked with over 400 Small and Medium Enterprises in Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly, receiving excellent feedback from its clients. Since participating in the high growth coaching programme, these businesses have created over 2248 new jobs and protected a further 745. The programme has also consistently exceeded its targets for generating additional GVA for the local economy. The current project has reported over £57m additional GVA generated by participating businesses, compared to an already ambitious target of £18m.
The project has achieved a very high start up survival rate. The rate of survival beyond 12 months is over 90% across those engaged in the programme. Compared to this, national start-up statistics indicate that 25% of start-ups fail within their first 12 months and 70% are no longer trading after 4 years.