Case Studies

Cook It Up

Cook It Up is a home-based and mobile catering business creating and delivering healthy and fresh multi-cuisine meals to the local community in Notinghamshire. They also have a weekly stall at a local market.

The founder, Ashleigh Bossman launched the business in January 2021 after combining two of her passions; travel and food.

The Growth Hub supported Ashleigh by sending a business adviser to carry out an initial diagnostic, provide consultancy and offer support to ensure Cook It Up was viable and sustainable.

"The D2N2 Growth Hub has been brilliant in their support and the depth of knowledge shared. The online sessions have been invaluable and a great learning opportunity for anyone on an entrepreneurial journey."

Ashleigh Bossman, Founder

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Bravo Lighting

Bravo Lighting is a trade-only supplier of premium lighting products to the retail sector in the UK and Ireland. Sourcing and importing bespoke designer lighting products from China and distributing them to lighting retailers, home furnishing shops and commercial properties.

After approaching the D2N2 Growth Hub for help in creating a new online B2B portal to streamline its sales process, increase staff efficiency and make it easier for customers to place orders.

"The support we've received from the D2N2 Growth Hub has been great. It's helped us identify all the potential challenges and work out how to solve them. Our growth to date has been mainly through trade shows and word of mouth, but we want to be more proactive.

Our new website will help us to promote our products better and improve the process for our customers, so we can save time, sell more and raise the profile of our brand even further."

Yunan Zheng, Director

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Grass-Fields

Grassfields LtdGrass-Fields creates and sells a range of high-quality, contemporary African clothing for women, men and children. Founded by Christelle and Michelle Nganhou, twin sisters from Cameroon, who originally started selling their garments via Etsy.

Grass-Fields received access to the Goldman Sachs 10KSB programme for start-up and high growth potential businesses.

"The support the D2N2 Growth Hub has given us has been invaluable. The 10KSB course on its own has been worth its weight in gold in terms of how we've been able to apply what we have learned, and help grow our business.

Our future is in our own hands. We'd recommend the Growth Hub service to any business that's looking to scale-up."

John Tchoudi, Director

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FAKRO GB Ltd

FAKRO GB Ltd offer a complete range of innovative solutions dedicated to bringing light and access to lofts. From natural pine, white acrylic, PU Coated or PVC roof windows in beautiful designs and clever opening methods to windows for flat roofs, lantern roofs and loft ladders - FAKRO delivers the UKs premium collection of products for loft improvements.

FAKRO are continuously aiming to expand and drive the business performance year upon year. The D2N2 Growth Hub has provided support through the provision of a dedicated business adviser who has been able to assist with grant funding for recent growth projects. The adviser has been able to assess a variety of options available to the business, as well as informing them of other upcoming grant funding and schemes. In addition to this, the D2N2 Growth Hub offers a suite of fantastic webinars and courses which has allowed FAKRO to develop staff expertise, enabling them to grow within the company and develop all aspects of their skillsets.

D2N2 have allowed us to develop our staff’s abilities allowing them to expand their knowledge and education within their roles. Richard has been key in this allowing us to understand upcoming events and training which would be suitable to our business.

Noel Shanahan - FAKRO Managing Director

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Shining Cliff Centre

Shining Cliff Centre C.I.C was established in 2019 when director, Kate Tuck, took over the lease of Shining Cliff Hostel. The hostel has been in existence since the 1940’s, and provides simple, self-catering accommodation in a unique off-road location, situated in the midst of 600 acres of stunning woodland on the edges of the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site. The hostel includes a Woodland Hut, which can be hired to groups wishing to spend a day in the woodland, they also have access to a fire pit, toilet, and a dry, secure hut to use in poor weather or to store belongings whilst exploring the woodland. 

Kate reached out to the Growth Hub to gain support in self-employment and to learn how to help promote the business in her local area. This support came in the form of Action Planning Workshops and webinars. Kate attended several including: ‘Getting started with social media’, ‘How to have a greater impact using social media’ and also ‘Diving deeper into WordPress’. These sessions have helped boost the marketing for the Shining Cliff Centre and helped support in the development of the company website. Sessions were also attended on the topics of Empowerment and Wellbeing and Finance, the latter enabling Kate to start to think ahead and plan financially.

I have really benefited from the webinars run by D2N2. I’ve learnt how to use social media as a marketing tool, had support on using WordPress to create my own website, and had support on how to think ahead financially. I had no experience of setting up or running a company, so these free resources have been invaluable in learning about many of the facets of being self employed and getting my service known in the local area.

Kate Tuck, Shining Cliff Centre

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Ascot Fencing Ltd

Ascot Fencing Ltd is a local fencing supply business in Derby where quality and customer service are priority. With a staff of local craftsmen, they offer an extensive range of high quality fence panels, concrete posts and gravel boards, all made on site at their factory & showroom. 

The Growth Hub made it easy to access the knowledge and skills needed in many areas by providing a comprehensive webinar and workshop programme. As such, several were attended including ‘Navigating the disciplinary maze’ and ‘HR essentials’ . These helped to give company director, Elizabeth the skills to better manage employee situations with confidence. Elizabeth is now also tackling the world of digital marketing with webinars like ‘Optimising Your WordPress Website’ and ‘How to Have a Greater Impact Using Social Media’.

The webinars and workshops offered by D2N2 are a fantastic help. I feel I am gaining the skills to better manage our employees as well as skills to push our business further into greater success.

Elizabeth Crump, Director and owner

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Knot Always Monday

Knot Always Monday is a creative business selling a wide range of knitted items including clothes, blankets, toys and also a selection of handmade kitchen utensils. The business was founded by Maria Newington, who having spent over 30 years working in an office job feeling unfulfilled and dreading Mondays, decided to start the business to pursue her creative passions. 

The D2N2 Growth Hub supported Maria by helping her to upskill in order to have the skills and confidence to launch an e-commerce platform. This was achieved by attending a variety of workshops and webinars which covered the following topics: social media marketing, personal development and websites/e-commerce. Through Growth Hub signposting Maria was also able to attend a two day course on ‘Being your own boss’, this covered business fundamentals such as creating the business plan, taxation and company registration.

The Growth Hub has been a valuable source of information which has helped and inspired me to take the plunge and set up my own company selling products which I have created with care and love. Without their encouragement and Webinars, I doubt I would have plucked up the courage to create my own online shop.

Maria Newington, Founder of Knot Always Monday

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Positive ID Labels

Positive ID Labels is a label printing company based in Melbourne, South Derbyshire. Employing 26 staff, the company has grown to a £2.2m turnover since starting label production 16 years ago. 

Having invested £235k buying a Xeikon 3030 digital print engine and finishing unit in 2019, the company approached the Growth Hub to help finance an upgrade to the machine by decoupling the print engine from the finishing unit. This decoupling meant that overall operational efficiency could be improved dramatically. The cost of the works was just under £25,000 of which D2N2 contributed 30%. As a result of the decoupling, print jobs could be queued and printed back-to-back to optimise machine time and material use. Whereas before, material was wasted between jobs, the machine could now print without stopping. This in turn meant that rather than having to have both machines set up perfectly for the duration of the runs, they could be operated independently.

Working with the D2N2 team was made easy by regular and effective communication and ownership by the facilitating staff at D2N2. This in turn has encouraged the company to work closely with D2N2 on other projects to help support the business and in turn create jobs in the local area

Pete Howells, Technical Director

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YADA Collective

YADA Collective CIC is a newly formed social-enterprise who have a vision to re-imagine and re-present the night-time economy. Their first alcohol-free bar opened in June 2021 creating an alternative and welcoming space in the city of Derby. The collective hopes to provide a unique environment for local charities to reach out to members of the community, with a particular focus on those working with marginalised groups. 

YADA Collective’s directors are an enthusiastic group in their mid-20s that are keen to learn and develop as their business grows. As a start-up social enterprise, they were on the lookout for funding opportunities but needed to have a clearer and more robust business plan. With the support of a D2N2 Growth Hub business adviser the business underwent the information, diagnostic and brokerage service. This enabled them to them create a robust business plan that would aid their success at funding bids. The business also attended a number of Growth Hub webinars and Action Planning Workshops on the topics of marketing, business planning and wellbeing.

Having the support of D2N2 has been a game changer for us. As a team of young co-founders it was great to get some experienced advice from Sonny. With their support we were able to create a business plan, identify and win some funding bids, receive some essential training for our new staff and develop crucial connections within the city.

Rhondell Stabana, Director and co-founder

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Rachel Carter Sculpture

Sculptor Rachel Carter works from The Garden Studio on the Derbyshire / Nottinghamshire border, creating large scale sculpture for the garden and smaller intimate sculptures for the home using the lost wax technique to create bronze works. 

Rachel is a strong believer that learning and growth, both personal and in business, shouldn’t end and that’s why she tries to keep her skills up to date and learn new applications that could benefit her business by attending the webinars and workshops available through the D2N2 Growth Hub. Recently Rachel attended the ‘Making Twitter work effectively for your business’ action planning workshop , and although she’d been using twitter for some years now, the workshop gave her some new things to try, shared new developments in the app and much more. Since applying these to her business, Rachel has already grown her network and started new conversations with other businesses and customers. Rachel has also benefited from adviser support to help provide guidance on how to continue trading through the Coronavirus pandemic.

I really enjoy accessing the D2N2 webinar programme, being able to dip in and out of workshops as I need them is so valuable as a small business owner. There are so many to pick from on a wide range of topics, they really do help

Rachel Carter, Rachel Carter Sculpture

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The Three Bears Cookery Club

The Three Bears Cookery Club offers fun cookery sessions for children ages 2-13. Currently based in Derbyshire, Three Bears Cookery Club runs After School Clubs in local Primary Schools, Holiday Workshops, Online Classes, Baking Parties and a monthly Baking Subscription Box. The aim of the business is to teach children how to cook, explore tastes & textures and develop lifelong independence in the kitchen. 

Ruth has been on a number of D2N2 Growth Hub online workshops which have been extremely useful in learning new skills to move her business forward. Workshops attended include ‘Marketing strategy in practice’, ‘Creating an email marketing strategy’, ‘Getting started with pricing’ and more. Since Ruth started Three Bears Cookery Club in 2016, the business has won a number of Awards for their Cookery Classes and due to the success of the business. Ruth has now franchised the business and looking for Franchisees across the UK. Ruth would encourage everyone to follow their business dreams and to remember that it’s never too late, nor is it impossible if you have a family – in Ruth’s case her family have been her inspiration.

Having access to D2N2’s workshops has been amazing, the workshops are well organised and the trainers are extremely helpful and supportive in tailoring it to your business and answering questions. I would recommend D2N2 to everyone, as it has been fantastic to be able to have access to their workshops and services

Ruth Chubb, The Three Bears Founder

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Hub Auto ID Ltd

Hub Auto ID offer the following products and services: Inventory & Asset Management Solutions, Label Print Systems, Labels, Tags & Thermal Transfer Ink Ribbons, Hand Held & Unattended Barcode Scanners, Mobile Computers & Data Capture Software, RFID Readers & Software Solutions, RFID Tags & Cards and Label Printer & Mobile Computer Repair Services.

The business was supported by the Growth Hub through attendance at several webinars and Action Planning workshops. Sessions included ‘Optimising LinkedIn for your business’ and ‘Making Twitter work effectively for your business’. Attendance on these sessions has made a big difference in how Hub Auto ID promotes itself via social media, particularly in regards to content and scheduling. The interactive nature of the workshops has been beneficial in aiding understanding and has helped build a community of support. This has enabled the business to grow its following across these platforms.

I would strongly advise any company out there to take advantage of the Growth Hub. The courses are very enjoyable, educational, and free ! If you want free help to master many of the areas they cover, get on board and join up.

Paul Johnston, Business Development Manager

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