Businesses in Mansfield are going from strength to strength with the help of grants from Mansfield District Council.
In 2022, 20 business grants were approved by the council totalling £43,032, and the Economic Stimulus Fund has just been refreshed to help more enterprises in the coming year.
Among those helped in the past 12 months were:
– COCO, a sustainable lifestyle store and cafe on Nottingham Road, Mansfield.
– The Kompressor Haus, a Mansfield-based company specialising in kits to improve the performance of the engines of classic VWs.
– Integra Windows which has a showroom at the Mansfield Innovation Centre in Hamilton Way.
The Executive Mayor Andy Abrahams and Cllr Stuart Richardson, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Growth, visited the companies to find out more about their success.
COCO and The Kompressor Haus were among 11 companies that have benefited in the past year from a council start-up grant. The grants of up to £2,500 aim to encourage new independent businesses to open in Mansfield.
Other grants distributed in 2022 were six Growth Grants to facilitate companies that want to expand; one Vacant Shop Grant and two Shop Improvement Grants. All the grants offered are for up to £2,500.
Mayor Andy said: “Mansfield comes up time and time again in various studies and statistics as a brilliant place to start a new business.
“Both Coco and The Kompressor Haus are great examples of the council lending a helping hand to get young businesses off on the right foot at a crucial time, giving them the best chance for longer term success.”
COCO opened six months ago and is a fusion of food, interiors, quirky gifts and antiques, employing ten staff, currently.
Julia Daws, the managing director of COCO, said: “I set up COCO as I have a combined love of good food, antiques and enjoy sourcing unusual and interesting gifts and home decor.
“Mansfield is a great location for a start-up business like ours. There is a huge community in the North Notts area that want experiences and products that are diverse and interesting.
“I was able to utilise the grant money to pay for new signage and a general upgrade to the frontage for the shop. It is so important to have the support of this kind available to assist with the high costs involved in a start-up business. We felt very lucky to be a recipient.
“It’s great to know that our local authority is working with local business owners to further regenerate the Mansfield area.”
The Kompressor Haus specialises in kits to improve the performance of the engines of classic VWs.
David Godfrey, the joint owner, said: “The grant was used mainly to help us buy marketing materials and equipment. It also allowed us to book a number of trade stands at specialist car shows, which delivered a number of sales.
“Without the help, we would not have been able to attend the shows, which would have significantly reduced our Year One sales and slowed down our growth.”
David set up the business last year with Jarrod Allen, operating from home, building and selling supercharger kits to improve the engine performance of classic (pre-1980s) VW Beetles and Camper Vans.
“We are both local and wanted to stay local as well as use local suppliers whenever possible. We are the only UK-based company providing these items in kit form but also export around 10% of our sales to customers in Europe, Australia and the USA.
“This is a specialist market where word spreads very quickly, so we have focussed on product quality and customer service this year.
“Our next step is to expand the range of products we supply and potentially move into local premises that will allow us to move into offering installation as well as kit supply.”
Integra Window Systems Ltd has benefited from a council Business Growth Grant which supports existing businesses in the district to help them expand.
Michael Irwin and his wife Gill set up the company in 2016, and for the first five years, they operated out of their home.
The business grew, and by 2021, needed to move into office space and employ its first member of staff. A second employee joined about a year ago from the Government’s Kickstart scheme.
The council has supported the company in equipping its new office with essential IT equipment and hardware and to progress and market a new product to its range. This enabled it to take on its Kickstart recruit on a permanent basis.
Michael said: “Without the help of the council and David Smith at the Innovation Centre, we wouldn’t be in this strong position we currently find ourselves.
“Last year saw the business grow by 40 percent, and the council support has been invaluable in the growth and development of the business. It enabled us to hit the ground running.
Michael and his family live in Mansfield after relocating from Doncaster. “I am keen to keep the business local and employ locally and hopefully give back to the local economy,” he said.
Integra offers a range of windows, doors, aluminium products, and conservatory roofs. As a one-stop shop, it means his customers get their products quicker and easier as they do not need several accounts with different suppliers.
Michael added: “It’s our attention to detail and high-quality products that ensure our customers receive their quotes and orders on time with over 99% accuracy, which is unheard of within the industry.”
Late last year, Mansfield was highlighted as the most entrepreneurial town in the UK. This followed a 2021 study by the School of Marketing, which demonstrated Mansfield was the best place to start a new business in England.
A complementary national survey of small business start-ups and their owners confirmed that nearly 60 percent said that they valued their locality as a place to start their business.
Executive Mayor Andy Abrahams added: “These external studies show that Mansfield is the place to be for business growth and start-ups. We truly value the business community’s energies in bringing growth and jobs to the district, and we are playing our part through the business grants scheme. ”
The authority’s business support service works closely with Mansfield and Ashfield 2020, D2N2 Growth Hub, the Business and IP Centre and the East Midlands Chamber to ensure businesses get the best quality support.
Services offered to businesses by the council include help finding the right premises and relocation support, help with planning and licencing, and advice on financial assistance.
Signposting to offer help with wide specialist advice and opportunities regarding skills in the workforce and talent retention is also available.