Diversification proves a meaty success for Sausage Roll Company
The Business Enterprise Fund which provides capital grants to start-up and existing businesses is bigger and better than before. It now covers Shropshire (not including Telford) and Herefordshire and can support businesses of any age.
Coopers Gourmet Sausage Rolls were one of the successful businesses from the recent round of awards. In December 2010 they moved into a purpose built unit at the Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre, owned by Shropshire Council and managed by Heart of England fine foods, with just two employees. In eleven months this figure had increased to seven in response to the demand for their product.
The sausage rolls they produce are currently sold to other delicatessens, farmers markets and other local businesses and also The Midcounties Co-op who order over 1,000 sausage rolls per week. Coopers recently won a contract with House of Fraser which quickly saw demand outstripped supply!
To cope with this increase in sales Coopers have had to bring forward capital plans to increase their freezer capacity. They have been helped to do this with a successful application to the Shropshire and Herefordshire Business Enterprise Fund with a grant of 50% toward the cost of a new freezer, which will also lead to the creation of another job within the company.
Coopers Gourmet Sausage Rolls source over 95% of their ingredients from a 40 mile radius of Shrewsbury and are now producing around 5,000 sausage rolls in 15 flavours.
Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for Business and Prosperity, Councillor Mike Owen said: “this is exactly the kind of business that Shropshire Council is pleased to support as they have shown resilience in the current economic times. They have diversified and in doing so created seven new jobs for the area, while supporting the supply chain and producing a first rate product”.
A total of £1million has been available to the fund which is currently open to applications with a closing date of 30 April 2012. Check the website www.shropshire.gov.uk/sbef or call 01743 252596 for more information and to check eligibility criteria to see whether your business could benefit from the fund.
Shropshire Brewery Company Hobsons based in Cleobury Mortimer has almost £1/4 million invested in beer barrels. At any one time approximately 75% of these are out at customer premises. Each year a quantity of barrels remain unreturned for a variety of reasons. The company realised that if they could reduce the number of lost barrels and return those in use quicker they could reduce the cost of purchasing additional barrels at £70 each, therefore improving profitability.
Having identified the problem, Hobsons Brewery worked with the knowledge sector to find a solution. An identification tag system was developed which sends a signal to a smart phone app utilising a cloud based database. Nick Davis Managing Director at Hobsons Brewery explained “the drivers will now be alerted with the location of barrels that have been dispatched more than 4 weeks. The drivers are then able to collect these empty barrels while in the area, reducing fuel and staff costs in addition to the significant savings in replacement barrels. This innovation has been made possible by working with University partners, who have the expertise to develop the system for us”.
Recently launched across Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire is the Eureka! Moment programme, which is available to businesses operating within these areas. Businesses can benefit from attending free workshops on a variety of themes. Eligible businesses can further benefit from an audit undertaken by a local university partner to identify business challenges and suggest solutions to resolve these. Following the audit revenue grants of up to £10,000 (minimum £2,000) could be awarded, alternatively if more appropriate your business will be referred to one of the larger innovation schemes operating in the West Midlands.
To find out more about the project, eligibility and how your business could have its own Eureka! Moment sign up to the newsletter www.shropshire.gov.uk/eureka-moment/news.
The Ludlow Nut Company has received a £5,000 business grant from the Shropshire & Herefordshire Business Enterprise Fund. The grant part funded a £16,000 investment, to create a food grade kitchen in an adjacent unit at the Ludlow Eco Business Park.
Owner Helen Graham said “we found out the adjacent unit was becoming available in Mid-August, we contacted Shropshire Council about the business grants, the Business and Enterprise teams assisted us with the application process and we were able to start the renovations in September, by Mid October the works were complete and the grant had been paid. Moving the baking operation into an onsite facility has allowed the business not only to be more productive but able to benefit from Bulk Purchasing ingredients. Another benefit is that we are able to offer packaging of Nuts and Seeds under contract to associated businesses that offer “nut free ranges” so are unable to undertake this work themselves.
The Ludlow Nut Company was started in 2004 from the basement of Helen & Robert Grahams home. The company produces luxury Muesli, granola and porridge mixes, later adding cereal bars to the range.
In 2009 the business moved into a unit at the Ludlow Eco-Park, which was used as an office and warehouse. An offsite kitchen was rented at the Ludlow Food Centre, until the move into the adjacent unit was made possible in the autumn of this year.
Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Prosperity, Cllr. Mike Owen said “it is really encouraging to hear how the business grants are helping small businesses to thrive in the county. Already 20 jobs have been created by the 30 companies that have received grants with more promised in the future”.
The Shropshire and Herefordshire Business Enterprise Fund has Capital Grants of up to £5,000 match funded 50% by businesses and £1, 5000 grants for start-up and new businesses. To be able to benefit from this fund, businesses must provide goods and services to other businesses, and or tourism related. For further information please visit the website www.shropshire.gov.uk/sbef or phone 01743 252596.