A Rugeley-based surveying business has set firm foundations for growth with support from the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub and the Chambers of Commerce.
UK Surveyors, based at the Lea Hall Enterprise Park, offers a portfolio of services including design, planning, architectural drafting and building regulations, plus fire zone and licensing plans, to a national range of clients.
The firm was founded by husband and wife team Darren Johnson-Rose, managing director and senior surveyor, and Louise Johnson-Rose, sales and marketing director, who decided to take the business to the next level by investing in new equipment and recruiting and training new staff.
They approached the Growth Hub for help and advice last autumn and had a full business diagnostic, a free service from the Growth Hub, delivered by expert adviser Pam Wallis from Greater Birmingham Chambers.
UK Surveyors are now in the process of implementing the resulting expansion plans. They have already recruited an apprentice building surveyor, secured a Small Business Grant to buy a specialised 3D camera for their surveying work, and took part in Let’s Do Mentoring and Enterprise for Success training sessions. Plans are also in the pipeline to access more staff training, recruit an apprentice CAD technician and strengthen their social media and marketing profile in the UK market.
“We are a small business that began life in 2010 in the garage of our family home,” Louise Johnson-Rose explained. “Since then we have built up a national portfolio of clients, including large and small businesses, estate agents and developers, and moved into new offices.
“But we were aware we needed outside, objective advice to supplement our own business planning and make sure we had really solid plans for the future. That’s when I contacted the Growth Hub – and came away from the initial discussions feeling highly motivated.
“The great thing is no one had any hidden agendas, or was trying to sell us anything. It was all about what was best for us and our business.
“The process of applying for grants and sorting out the most suitable apprenticeship can be daunting for a small business, but we had advice to guide us through it all, and I was surprised at how straightforward it turned out to be.”
The new 3D camera is enabling staff to map sites more accurately and transfer the information to CAD files. It has also added a new line to the business by providing walk-through website displays of sites and new premises for their clients.
Meanwhile apprentice building surveyor Ollie Hollyhead had been on the point of starting a full-time university course in Nottingham when he was offered the position at UK Surveyors – and jumped at the chance.
“It means I can do my academic training locally at Wolverhampton University, get lots of practical experience in the business at the same time, and earn as I am learning,” he said.
UK Surveyors are also exploring more training opportunities for office manager Alyssa Wilkes, who also began her career there as an apprentice, so that she can increase her social media expertise.
David Frost CBE, chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “UK Surveyors have shown great initiative and we wish them every success with their growth plans for the future.
“This is a great example of the kind of support that our Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub and Business Helpline can offer. It can assist businesses to expand their horizons and gives them that crucial extra support to help them grow. I encourage other businesses to come forward and talk to us about the advice and funding they can receive.”
The Growth Hub was established by Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership to drive strong, sustainable business growth. It is a focal point for businesses that wish to grow, linking them to specialist information, advice and services.
Businesses can access free support and advice by contacting the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub on 0300 111 8002, or visit the website: www.stokestaffsgrowthhub.co.uk
Caption: The UK Surveyors team, from left, Darren Johnson-Rose, Ollie Hollyhead, Alyssa Wilkes and Louise Johnson-Rose
Notes to Editors:
The Growth Hub was established by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to play a major role in the drive for strong, sustainable business growth across the LEP area.
Local Enterprise Partnerships were established by the Government to bring all the stakeholders in local areas – from the private and public sectors – around the table to drive local economic growth. In total there are 38 LEPs across England.
The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP is chaired by David Frost CBE, former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce and includes senior representatives of local businesses, universities and FE colleges, and local authorities including Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
The Growth Hub acts as the focal point for businesses that wish to grow, providing co-ordinated and cohesive growth programmes, business networks, growth groups and links to specialist information, advice and services.
The funding for the Growth Hub was secured from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) through Lancaster University, who led the creation of 15 new growth hubs across the UK.
As part of the Growth Hub service, officers from the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce are available to provide face-to-face advice to local businesses and to signpost them to specialised support.
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
The project is receiving £1.6m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.