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Drivespeed Ltd Accelerate Their Growth

A discussion during York Business Week’s Super Networking event led to a meeting between vehicle supply solutions company Drivespeed Group and Make It York’s Business Support Team. The meeting explored the range of help and support available via Make It York and, in doing so, quickly identified the key area of staff training and development at Drivespeed as a way in which Make It York could help.

Through the Leeds City Region LEP’s Skills Service, support and funding is provided to SME’s towards skills planning and training costs. Training is available for anything that will develop the skills of staff through the use of an external trainer and, through Make It York’s relationships, it was recognised that one of Drivespeed’s training partners (Pro Development) were an approved trainer under the Skills Service thus enabling this continued association together with a financial benefit to Drivespeed.  Michelle Mook, MD of Pro-Development commented that,

“We have loved working with Drivespeed over the last few years so it was fantastic that Pro-Development’s relationship with Make It York enabled them to access funding through them.”

Following referral into the Skills Service by Make It York’s Business Growth Executive, Mark Bates, Drivespeed were awarded £3,800.00 towards customer service, quality skills, decision making and first line manager training.

Having successfully secured Skills Service funding and undergone the training with Pro Development, Michelle Wallis, FD at Drivespeed said,

“Our staff are over the moon with the training and it has inspired them to look at further training.”

As well as accessing the Skills Service, Drivespeed personnel have also attended Make It York’s Masterclass events on delivering exceptional customer experiences, dealing with personal resilience, time management and HR.

On the benefits of staff attending the Masterclasses Michelle added

“All have said the courses they have been on are worthwhile and would like to further enhance some of them. In addition to this, we have secured the funding (for Skills Service), again down to you guys.”

Reflecting on meeting Make It York’s Business Support Team, Michelle said

“I can honestly say having that meeting with you guys was an extremely worthwhile decision… Yes extremely worthwhile engaging with Make It York.”

How Make It York was the Catalyst in Supporting Business Growth

In 2016, York Science Park based Catalyst IT Solutions, contacted Make It York for information and guidance. Make It York provide a free support service to all businesses in the York area, this includes anything from help with preparing a business plan, to finding new premises, to raising funding to support business strategy.

Catalyst implements back-office business technology solutions to an expansive customer base, from start-ups to FTSE 100 companies and across many different industries .  Following the initial contact, Make It York and Catalyst worked together to review Catalyst’s business plan and the potential for funding to support its aggressive growth strategy.

Funding is made available via the Government initiative of the Start Up Loans Scheme and Make It York is best placed to advise local businesses of their potential to take advantage of this scheme.

Nicky Hudson, Financial Controller at Catalyst, commented on the support provided,

“We found the advice given by Make It York invaluable and it has undoubtedly enabled us to continue on our path of rapid growth.”

Simon Middleton, Business Growth Manager at Make It York commented,

“I’m delighted that our support helped Catalyst. This is exactly the type of help we provide to all businesses in the York area so I’d be pleased to hear from more companies who need something similar.  If we cannot help you directly, we have a vast array of contacts across the city who are often able to assist.”

Making Muves in the Property Market

Matt Whatt and Olly Lawson established Muves Ltd two years ago.  Since then they have spent time developing their product and are now on the verge of launching their service and making it commercially available.

Muves provides estate and lettings agents with an online application that allows home owners to sell or rent their property at a cheaper cost whilst being more convenient for the customer at the same time.  Using the application, customers will have the ability to create property particulars at their own convenience whilst individuals interested in purchasing or renting the property will receive regular updates.  Landlords can manage their portfolios from anywhere in the world and agents will benefit from the reduced admin due to being able to direct more communications through the online channel.

After making initial contact with Leeds City Region LEP, Matt& Olly were introduced to Simon Middleton, SME Growth Manager at Make It York.  Our initial meeting with them uncovered a need for:

  • Commercial premises
  • Sales referrals
  • Networking opportunities
  • Introductions to potential investors
  • Funding opportunities

During the meeting we provided Matt & Olly with all the relevant contact details and information.  Since then they have been very proactive and quickly followed up on all the opportunities available to them.  The advice provided during the meeting lead to the following outcomes:

  • Commercial premises – they have applied for space at Spark York and Hiscox Business Club
  • Sales Referrals – they have a meeting arranged with a York based estate agent after we provided them with contact details for the MD
  • Networking opportunities – they are attending a Network B2B this week at Hotel du Vin where they will meet like minded business owners
  • Potential investors – we discussed their investment needs with a local high net worth individual who has a particular interest in their sector and they are now discussing their needs in more detail directly with the investor
  • Funding opportunities – subject to the outcome of their conversation with the potential investor, they have options with Start Up Loans to look at funding any shortfall.

They have been delighted with the free support we have provided and Matt Whatt commented,

“You’ve opened some really useful doors here for us so just wanted to let you know that we really appreciated your help.  I wish everyone was a helpful for start up businesses.”

It has been an absolute pleasure to meet with Matt & Olly and use our knowledge of the local business market to help them.  This is a perfect example of what we do, spending time with businesses, using our knowledge & contacts to help them develop and hopefully grow.  If you would benefit from a similar conversation then please get in touch, it’s our business to support your business

Make It York Supports Smart Sustainability

Earlier this year, the Business Support Team at Make It York met with Oliver Bradley, a Masters Graduate of York St John University Business School, to support his start-up business concept. Oliver commented on the support provided,

“I visited Chris Bush and Mark Bates at York Means Business (Make it York) in December 2016 to introduce them to my start-up, Smart Sustainability Co. Smart Sustainability Co. is a sustainability management consultancy that supports businesses by developing strategies and solutions that improve environmental, social and business performance. Whilst creating my business plan, several questions arose that I knew would best be answered by seeking help, particularly those related to the York business community.

Chris, Mark and I met to answer questions and exchange ideas around technicalities such as business insurance, letters of engagement and terms of business, as well as local networking opportunities. Mark’s prior experience in consultancy proved particularly useful, as he shared tips about the realities of working with other companies in a consultancy capacity, sharing valuable lessons. Chris recommended a service for website usability testing, which helped improve our company website.

I left Chris and Mark feeling equipped to proceed in areas I was previously unsure of and with direction to useful resources. It was invaluable to discuss my ideas with Chris and Mark as “outsiders” to my business, particularly in the early stages where many of my ideas were relatively undeveloped and their feedback was invaluable. I think one of the challenges of starting up in business is feeling a little isolated and uncertain. Chris and Mark helped me feel surer of my ideas and ready to proceed. Their advice on local networking opportunities in particular saved me time as they identified the networks most likely to be appropriate.”

Six months on, Oliver has been in touch to inform the team that his business ‘Smart Sustainability Co.’ is now trading, they are involved in some exciting projects and have recruited four members of staff. Chris Bush, Business Development Executive at Make It York commented,

“As a fellow graduate of York St John University I was really pleased to get the opportunity to support Oliver. At Make It York our doors are always open to any person with ambitions of starting-up their own business in the city of York.”