"Access2Finance opens up a range of new opportunities for companies and OI is able to share a high degree of specialist knowledge and expertise in relation to eligibility and what is available."
OI Programme Manager, Heather Coupland
A Cornish precision laser profiling and multi-axis press brake bending company is keeping up with increased customer demand and creating new job opportunities after securing a grant from the EDRF-funded Access2Finance programme delivered by Oxford Innovation, specialists in supporting entrepreneurship and improving the competitiveness of small to medium-sized enterprises.
Businessman John Gotts, who has been self-employed since the age of 22, formed Lasermaster in 2002 to provide a full and flexible laser cutting and laser profiling service along with metal folding and bending. With continuous investment, staff training and an unwavering commitment to customer care, the Redruth-based company grew to see high levels of returning custom and new clients on a daily basis. But, as exciting as it was to expand, it also became apparent that a problem was also being generated by the increasing customer demand.
Recognising the need for additional machinery, John sought advice from Oxford Innovation (OI) and was recommended to the Access2Finance programme, a scheme specifically designed to educate company owners about finance and grant funding available to accelerate business growth.
He explains: “We had such high demand that our only press was working day and night and we couldn’t complete orders at the fast rate we prided ourselves on. Everyone recognised the need for additional equipment but this involved a potentially massive investment and taking such a huge chunk of finance out of the business was difficult.
“Oxford Innovation not only provided reassurance and guidance on the process but also assisted with the application, ensuring that I understood what was required at every stage. As a result, we secured a grant for £56,869 which enabled me to purchase a much-needed press as well as a scanner, another vital piece of equipment for the business. We can now create ready copies of items with pinpoint accuracy as well as quality control every piece we produce and create templates for the full piece far more quickly than a team of Drawers ever could.”
OI Programme Manager, Heather Coupland, added: “The Access2Finance programme opens up a range of new opportunities for the companies and business people we support. We are able to share a high degree of specialist knowledge and expertise in relation to eligibility, what is available, and then to assist businesses from all different sectors in the application process.
“John advised us that he was looking to buy more machinery in order to expand but that costs were prohibitive. We were able to review the grants available and advise on suitable funds. He expressed reservations about the process but with our guidance, he had the necessary support to apply. In addition to increased productivity, this has resulted in a number of jobs being created with more expected in the future.
“If other businesses are in a similar position I’d urge them to contact the Access2Finance team for assistance. Each grant fund has various rules, targets and constraints attached but we manage these every day and have a great working relationship with the awarding bodies which allows us to simplify the process for the client.”
If you think your business could benefit from the Access2Finance programme go online at www.a2fcornwall.co.uk to find out more. Access2Finance is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered by Oxford Innovation, specialists in supporting entrepreneurship and improving the competitiveness of small to medium sized enterprises. You can contact Oxford Innovation via their website at www.oxfordinnovationservices.co.uk.