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BUSINESS Enterprise Support has been operating for more than 30 years and has helped hundreds of firms launch from its base in Moorland Road, Burslem.

Virgin StartUp - Logo - RGBIts most recent successes have come on the back of a fruitful link-up with Virgin StartUp loans as its delivery partner in the area.

Enterprise Coach, Martin Russell, decided to take readers on a journey around Stoke to talk to three businesses he has been able to help along the way.

He said: “The people of Stoke on Trent are proud of their pottery heritage, but there is more happening among the small business community than just ceramics these days.

“The area has seen massive growth in small and medium businesses helped, in part, by various projects undertaken by Business Enterprise Support (BES).

“On the back of that success BES joined with Virgin StartUp in a bid to help drive through more funding into businesses to get them off the ground or grow.

“BES and Virgin StartUp can provide access to a loan and support to people who want to start a business or have been trading for less than three years. The not-for-profit organisation will help clients to develop a business plan and financial forecasts to ascertain if they have a case to apply for a Virgin StartUp loan.

“That is the day to day, but getting out there to see that funding being put into action is very rewarding.

“This is a whistle stop road trip of some of the businesses that BES and Virgin StartUp have helped in the Stoke on Trent area in the past few months.”

Tom Lloyd: True Grit Training

Image 1Tom Lloyd had been referred to Virgin StartUp by his business partner Grant Hallam as they were looking to expand their gym, True Grit Training (TGT), with additional equipment and enhanced facilities.

“We were already seeing growth in clients who enjoyed our community feel and ‘everybody is welcome’ policy at TGT,” explained the 26-year-old.

“Our approach saw our numbers pick up significantly, so we needed bigger premises, which we self-funded. But we still needed help with the additional equipment etc.

“That is where Business Enterprise Support, delivery partner for Virgin Start Up, came in.

“From Grant’s experience we knew the level of detail that was required to explain what we wanted to achieve and our Enterprise Coach, Martin, took us through every step to develop our business plan and financial forecasts.

“We really appreciated the help and support we received from both BES and Virgin.”

Veleno Ltd

Image 2Toni Rowland, 39, and Andrew Baddeley, 43, love to make the homes of customers feel special. They do this by sourcing quality furniture that can offer style and value for money.

The pair said: “We want Veleno to be a hidden gem and for customers to have a great experience in finding exactly what they want to give their home that individual feel.

“We feel privileged to be able to partner with suppliers like Halo and offer those products to Staffordshire home makers.

“It’s quite an achievement for a small business to be working with a big name like Halo and that’s the type of ethos we want. Big named brands, but with a personalised service from a small company.

“Our aspiration to have our own showroom was only made possible by the help and support from BES and Virgin Start Up.

“We certainly learned a few things on the way which were beneficial before we started.”

Fouad Bouchanni – MACC Ltd Cheshire

Image 3Fouad Bouchanni was already running his own company as part of a franchise for MACC UK Ltd, providing equipment and workwear to trades people, when he decided he wanted more from his business life.

The 38-year-old said: “My MACC van is both my showroom and office. I had decided that purchasing it from MACC, rather than leasing it, would be more cost effective for my business, especially with the relatively low interest rates that Virgin offer.

“During the development stage of the business plan and financial forecasts, not only did it help me come to the conclusion that it would be more cost effective, it also gave me a much clearer insight into my objectives and aspirations for my business.

“Thanks BES and Virgin Start Up, I couldn’t have done it without you.”