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Loads4Less, Progress Recruitment and Netmatters

Loads4Less, Progress Recruitment and Netmatters – the entrepreneurial businesses first to receive growth Future50 grants for growth

10:00 03 March 2016

Loads4Less, Progress Recruitment And Netmatters

Progress Recruitment. Director Laura Rycroft with her team.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

Future50 firms are helping to create jobs thanks to a new government backed fund. Business writer SABAH MEDDINGS reveals the investment plans of the first wave recipient businesses

Share link shares Loads4Less, Progress Recruitment And NetmattersAdam Soall, founder of Loads4Less. Picture: Submitted

They are the elite of a new generation of businesses those with the entrepreneurial spark and growth ambitions to become the major players of tomorrow. And with previous alumni including Naked Wines, Seajacks and Go Ape – multi-million pound firms employing thousands of people across the country – the Future50 intake of 2016 have good reason to aim high. Three of their number have been boosted by grants totalling 20,000 from the 1.2m Regional Growth Fund, which they will invest to fuelgrowth, upgrade equipment, create jobs and improve marketing.

Progress Recruitment, Loads4Less and Netmatters are the first firms to secure the cash, with more than a dozen more grants in the pipeline. The grants are administered by business support organisation Nwes, which has been working with the Future50 firms to help them achieve new levels of growth. Nwes senior business adviser Richard Voisey, pictured, said Future50 was about helping the businesses which were driving the economy in Norfolk and Suffolk. The money is intended to help them increase turnover and take on more employees.

It s about the difference the grant makes, said Mr Voisey. It allows them to do something they wouldn t necessarily have done without the grant.

Having worked on this project since July last year, I have been really pleasantly surprised how many businesses out there in Norfolk and Suffolk who are really making things happen. But they re not necessarily singing from the rooftops to let people know what they are doing.

Loads4Less, Progress Recruitment And NetmattersChris and James Gulliver (left to right) of Netmatters. Picture: Submitted

Coaching has helped businesses make the transition from being one-person start-ups to navigating the early days of employing people, with the added pressures of HR, management and payroll.

A lot of the business I have been working with started off being kitchen table businesses and then have gone on to get premises and then staff, said Mr Voisey.

Progress Recruitment

When Progress Recruitment managing director Laura Rycroft launched the business from her spare room in 2011, there was a stair gate at the door and she took calls while looking after her newborn baby boy. Now, five years on, the business employs 15 people and is about to move into bigger offices in its current home at Sapphire House in Roundtree Way, Norwich. Its turnover has reached 500,000, and staff numbers are set to grow over the next few months.

A Future50 grant for 6,300 has been put towards a new database – which cost 31,500 plus VAT – allowing recruitment staff to place more candidates in the automotive and logistics trade. The scheme has also helped find new business for the firm, with Progress Recruitment sourcing staff for fellow Future 50 company Lifeline24, and Lambda Films helping with promotion.

In five years time I would like to be more established and doing well over 1m turnover, said Ms Rycroft, now a 34-year-old mum-of-two. She used 10,000 of savings to launch the business, and said turnover was on target to reach 750,000 next year.

The good thing with recruitment is if someone is being productive they should cover their own costs, she added.

Many of Progress Recruitment s own staff come from an automotive background, which helps win new business across the UK.

I like the fact we know it in depth. We can see from a CV if they have the right qualifications.

We fully register each candidate and discuss the job and where it is before we submit the CV. She added: I didn t think we would be here when I was working in my spare room.

Loads4Less

A business which launched as a man-with-a-van venture six years ago with 500 and a rented van has developed a three-year plan to break the 1m turnover mark. Low-cost removals specialist Loads4Less, based in Canary Way, Norwich, wants to expand into Cambridge, and has hopes to reach across the UK in the next five years, according to founder and director Adam Soall. Its 5,839 of Future50 funding has been used to extend its reach through digital marketing and contribute towards a new vehicle.

Mr Soall, 36, also wants to employ someone to increase the company s profile on social media, and add a full-time administrator to the team. He has also received business coaching and help in developing the structure of the company from Nwes.

I went from being in the van and someone who was always manoeuvring things to all of a sudden being in charge of a load of people and in the office all the time, said Mr Soall.

We have got around 10 to 12 people now. That should grow over the next year. Mr Soall, a former landlord of the Spread Eagle pub in Sussex Street, said he was targeting a middle-class market who might be moving from a three-bedroom house.

They don t need an 18-tonne lorry if they are moving half a mile down the road, he said. If you have to do two trips it s not far to go.

We are professional, we re good at what we do and we re still affordable.

As the business expands, he said he hoped to save on carbon emissions by offering shared loads, which would also cut costs for customers. The business currently has a turnover of 420,000.

Netmatters

Chris Gulliver, pictured below left, was working as head of IT for a group of companies when he decided to launch his own business in 2008. He agreed a deal to carve out web-design arm Netmatters from one of the firms, and was joined by brother James, below right, who was working as a freelance web developer.

Within the first year the business grew to employ six people, with a turnover of 400,000. Eight years later, it has just bought a third unit at its Wymondham base, and is using its Future50 grant of 5,026 to help pay for a disaster recovery suite – standby office space for businesses whose own offices are unusable for a period of time. It also employs 37 people, and has plans to grow to 45 by the end of the year. Managing director Chris, 36, said: We will probably get up to about 50 staff. We work across all industries, so it might be a case of consolidating and specialising in some areas.

Turnover has also increased to 2.5m, up from 1.8m last year, with growth coming from new and existing customers.

There s a lot of opportunity to cross-sell, he said. A business might come in for some digital marketing and might want some IT or design as well.

A lot of work goes into new customers, so we want to maximise the ones we have got.

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Train delays expected until midnight after freight service breaks …

20:35 19 June 2015 Edmund Crosthwaite 1 Ipswich railway station Archant A broken down freight train is causing delays for travellers between Ipswich and Cambridgeshire. The problem occurred between Bury St Edmunds and Thurston and has blocked some of the lines. This means services between Ipswich and Cambridge, and Ipswich and Ely may be cancelled, delayed or revised.

This is likely to continue until around midnight tonight. Rail replacement buses are currently being set up and further information will be given by train operator Abellio Greater Anglia as soon as it is available. The operator also apologised for the disruption.

The company s delay repay information can be found at www.abelliogreateranglia.co.uk/about-us/our-performance/delay-repay References ^ Edmund Crosthwaite (www.eadt.co.uk)

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Port of Sheerness expansion plans could create 1,250 …

00:05 31 October 2014 Maria Chiorando 1 Rail freight link part of 20 year master plan Plans to build a rail freight link between the Port of Sheerness and Liverpool could create 1, 250 new jobs and gross added value (GVA) of 156million by 2034, according to a master plan by operators Peel Ports. Peel Ports is a port operating group, who own and operate sites in Liverpool, Manchester, Medway, Glasgow and Belfast, as well as Sheerness. Their master plan sets out the physical improvements needed at the Port over the next 20 years, as well as detailing how these improvements would result in increased socio-economic benefits for the region, and they will be inviting the public to a series of consultation events in November, to discuss the long-term expansion plans.

Sheerness is already a significant commercial port for the South East of the UK, handling around 1.3million tonnes of cargo every year, with industry forecasts suggesting that this figure could increase by as much as 130% over the next 20 years, enabling the Port to handle 3.1million tonnes of cargo a year. The port currently supports 660 jobs across a range of sectors including marine and waterside operations, cargo handling, business management and administration. The rail freight link, which would connect Sheerness and the Port of Liverpool, would be for the transportation of new motor vehicles for export and import.

The consultations will take place over the next six weeks, and Peel Ports will ask the public for their views on five options for growth. The Plan identifies the amount of land needed to accommodate the port s growth and explains how investment in new facilities will serve the growing steel, forest products and automotive sectors and allow for the upgrade of the port s existing infrastructure. Peel Ports are also continuing to explore opportunities within the renewable energy sector.

Miles Hearn, port director of the Port of Sheerness, said: The production of the master plan is important, as it is part of our strategic commitment to develop and grow the Port of Sheerness over the next 20 years. It reflects Peel Ports long-term ambition to remain a key employer and driver for sustainable growth in the Swale region. That is why we want to involve the public in shaping these plans.

Public consultation events are an opportunity to engage with the local community and answer any questions they may have about the master plan. It is also a chance to hear their feedback and we welcome any contributions to the future of the Port of Sheerness. MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, Gordon Henderson, addded: I am extremely pleased to see Peel Ports future strategy for Sheerness and I welcome their decision to share the ideas with local residents and other stakeholders.

Peel Ports have invested heavily in their automotive business and other activities and sustained employment at the port.

I am glad they are still looking to engage with the renewable energy sector and I urge local residents and business people to get along to their exhibitions and have their say.

Members of the public are invited to attend any of the consultation events below and more information on these can be found at www.peelports.com/sheerness-master-plan – 13th November, 9:30am-1:00PM Sheppey Gateway 38-42 High Street, Sheerness, Kent ME12 1NL – 14th November 9:30AM-1:00PM Eastchurch Village Hall, Warden Road, Eastchurch, Sheppey, ME12 4EJ – 14th November 3:30PM-7:30PM Sheppey Gateway 38-42 High Street, Sheerness, Kent ME12 1NL – 15th November 9:30AM-1:00PM Sheppey Gateway 38-42 High Street, Sheerness, Kent ME12 1NL References ^ Maria Chiorando (www.kentnews.co.uk)

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Port of Sheerness expansion plans could create 1,250 …

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