Case Studies

Ignys - D2N2 UpScaler

Ignys is an electronics design and software development consultancy that helps clients from a range of sectors turn their product ideas into fully working prototypes.

Having grown steadily since inception in 2017, managing director Richard Fletcher was looking for direction to establish the structure and processes needed to enable further business growth. 

This was achieved through attending UpScaler workshops on business management, HR, finance and growth planning. Richard also received support and mentoring from his dedicated UpScaler business adviser. This enabled Richard to take a more holistic view to his business and to establish new processes in areas such as cash flow, finance and performance management.

The support we’ve received from UpScaler has been invaluable in terms of helping us to form our ideas and look at our business from a different perspective. As a small but growing company, it’s sometimes hard to press pause and take a more strategic view, but the mentoring has really helped me to focus on how I can scale the business and achieve growth in a more sustainable way.

Richard Fletcher, Ignys

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FSG Tableware - D2N2 UpScaler

FSG Tableware is the exclusive UK importer for some of the world’s leading food display and tableware manufacturers. 

Managing director of the business, Lynn Johnson, was seeking support in managing the solid organic growth that had been achieved. As head of a small team, Lynn wanted to take a step back from day to day operations to focus on the strategic elements of her business, this is where the D2N2 UpScaler project came in. 

Lynn attended several UpScaler workshops on topics such as business finance and marketing. A business diagnostic was provided which gave Lynn clear direction on the business. In addition to this, funding support was provided and connections were made to another business which resulted in new product developments. 

Joining the D2N2 UpScaler programme was a bit like opening a Pandora’s Box. The amount of support I’ve received has been overwhelming and has really helped me to focus my efforts on
the future of the business and what I need to do to get there. Thanks to the programme, I feel that we have grown as a business, but I have also grown as a person too.

Lynn Johnson, FSG Tableware

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Wellbeing at Whistlewood

Wellbeing at Whistlewood is an award-winning social enterprise for wellbeing set within a 10-acre community owned woodland which is part of the National Forest. The business offers retreats, classes, workshops, Forest Bathing, Forest Therapy and Expressive Arts experiences. 

The Covid-19 Pandemic presented particular problems for the enterprise with reduced income due to the cancellation of most of their events and affected planning wellbeing services for a changed Post Covid World. The D2N2 Growth Hub were able to support the business by creating a post Covid ‘green recovery business plan’ which included an evaluation of the development needs within the business which resulted in attending several of the Growth Hub’s webinars. The business also focussed on developing existing partnerships to help diversify its offering. The Growth Hub was also able to support Wellbeing at Whistlewood by providing guidance on access to finance in order to make Covid secure adaptions to the business. 

We have survived as a social enterprise during the most difficult of times and are thriving with the expert support and development opportunities within the D2N2 Growth Hub. The lives and needs of our customers and partners are different in 2021 so we have adapted our services to be responsive to a changing World. In moving forward confidently as restrictions lift, we look forward to providing wellbeing and Nature connection opportunities to our customers in the knowledge that our services are needed and appreciated more than ever. Our community wellbeing programmes are now being funded through charity partnerships, corporate support including from Toyota and NHS Green Social Prescriptions to ensure that people in the most need have access to our wellbeing services.

Anne Bramley and Helen Saunders, Wellbeing at Whistlewood

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Tom Hodgson Photography

Tom Hodgson Photography is a small business ran by sole trader Tom Hodgson. Tom’s busines specialises in photography and design to help clients to achieve their full potential through powerful imagery and strong design. Tom also covers wedding photography and has brought the big day to life for many couples behind the beautiful backdrop of the Peak District.

Tom contacted the Growth Hub as he was looking for support to help with investing in his business as he wanted to expand to offer photography with digital design services to support businesses changing their business models due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Growth Hub was able to support Tom by introducing him to resources where he could apply for grants to support his purchase of new IT equipment and software which enabled him to keep the business ahead of the game and therefore deliver high quality results. Tom also attended Growth Hub workshops on marketing and received information, diagnostic and brokerage support from a dedicated business adviser. 

Without the support of D2N2 and my business advisor Sarah I don’t know what I would have done. Navigating a pandemic as a business owner is difficult but knowing there is an extension to the business in the form of a trusted partner such as D2N2 is invaluable. Thank you for your fantastic support which I continue to receive.

Tom Hodgson, Tom Hodgson Photography

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Stevie Davies Glass

Stevie Davies Glass is a Derby based contemporary glass business specialising in warm glass processes to create distinctive art, sculptures, home décor and jewellery. Stevie’s devotion to the material, experimental approach to kiln fusing techniques, love of colour and texture gives her signature style an alluring aesthetic which is sure to start a conversation.

Stevie contacted the Growth Hub for opportunities to support her in thinking about a more broad range of business needs, such as branding and marketing. She wanted to learn skills outside of her own expertise in her art that would help to make the business more resilient and sustainable. This support was delivered by the Growth Hub in the form of our comprehensive webinar programme, with which Stevie attended several sessions on digital marketing, wellbeing and other areas. Support was also provided on a one to one basis by a dedicated Growth Hub business adviser.

I find the creative development side of my arts practice has naturally grown but it can be rather isolating. Finding the opportunities that D2N2 offer has enabled me to look at a broad range of business needs, spend time learning about aspects of social media, marketing and branding which I previously haven’t considered. Learning new skills or, often, where I need to seek to hire others to make my business more resilient and sustainable moving forward.

Stevie Davies, Stevie Davies Glass

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Blue Stamp Travel

Blue Stamp Travel provide personal and tailored language experiences abroad for students looking to make a breakthrough with their language skills. Specialising in French, German and Spanish and working with individuals or schools they provide Work Experience programmes, Intensive Language Courses, Host Family Accommodation, Internships, Summer Camps, Au Pair and Study and Online Tuition.

Blue Stamp Travel applied for the D2N2 Growth Hub’s Business Investment Fund to support them with the substantial costs of becoming an independent company as they had previously been a division of Halsbury Travel. This included investing in a brand new e-commerce website and a multi-function printer. 

There is no doubt that we have benefited from the grant and support offered by D2N2. We look forward to continuing this relationship and hope that other businesses too will also be able to benefit in the future. Our new site www.bluestamptravel.com is now live and we are delighted with the look and functionality!

Steve Manderson, Managing Director at Blue Stamp Travel

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Infused Learning

Infused Learning is a Nottingham based not for profit training company, offering a range of bespoke and tailored accredited and non-accredited qualifications and training courses to schools, and groups across the UK.

Tara and Natalie, the Infused Learning founders, contacted the Growth Hub as they needed further support in areas such as marketing, as they were lacking expertise internally. They were also looking for financial support to aid their business in expansion. The Growth Hub was able to support them via a dedicated business adviser who notified the Infused Learning team of grant funding opportunities. The team were also able to upskill by taking full advantage of the Growth Hub’s webinar programme.

Receiving funds to help automate processes will give us the capacity to increase our offering and reach more business and individuals not only throughout Nottinghamshire but UK wide.

Tara Askham, Director of Finance and Business Development

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Hanwell Wine Estate

Hanwell Wine Estate is a second generation family vineyard ran by husband and wife team William and Helenka Brown. Set amongst the rolling countryside of south Nottinghamshire, the vines of Hanwell Wine Estate are hand tendered to grow grapes for English sparkling wine.

The business approached the Growth Hub with the challenge of helping them to lead the   business by making the correct strategic decisions in order to not only grow but to motivate the team along the way from a leadership perspective. The Growth Hub were able to provide a dedicated business adviser to guide the business and support them when making important strategic decisions by acting as a sounding board. Hanwell Wine Estates also attended several of the Growth Hub's webinars in order to strengthen their knowledge on certain topics beneficial to the business. 

The Growth Hub team are easy to engage. Richard listened carefully to my requirement and reacted quickly to find me a Business Mentor. This has been a game changer for  Hanwell Wine Estate, adding value and increasing opportunity.

Big thanks to the Growth Hub!

Helenka Brown, Owner Hanwell Wine Estate

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Heal Her Retreats

Heal Her Retreats is a mother and daughter team, Nicole and Pamela, based in Nottingham. Delivering empowering and life-changing retreats for women.

The business approached the Growth Hub for help and support in building a strategy and a stronger business foundation in order to grow. The Growth Hub were able to support the business by helping them re-define their strategy, branch out their business network and to develop a B2B offering. 

The Growth Hub has given us the language and the confidence for us to speak to many different types of businesses. They have introduced us to many business-related contacts, which has opened up a lot of doors. Our business adviser has given us a way to structure our offerings which was something we were really struggling with. It’s comforting knowing that we’ve got this on-going support, can get feedback and help to think outside of our box.

Nicole & Pamela, Heal Her Retreats

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Upperton Pharma Solutions

Upperton Pharma Solutions is a specialist Contract Development and Manufacturing
Organisation (CDMO) to the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology sectors based in Nottingham. 

Following a successful application for the D2N2 Business Investment Fund grant, Upperton Pharma Solutions were able to grow significantly. This included the purchase of new equipment which enabled the business to secure new contracts and to hire new staff. 

By helping Upperton expand our services and capabilities, the D2N2 Growth Hub have helped Upperton give back to the local community with 5 of our recent hires recently graduating from local universities as well as strengthening Upperton’s position which in turn supports our current staff. Upperton look forward to future collaborations with the Growth Hub and strongly recommend businesses explore how the Growth Hub could support them.

Dr Ian Lafferty, Technical Director at Upperton Pharma Solutions

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TQC Ltd

TQC is a privately owned company based in Nottingham, who for over 35 years have been providing innovative turnkey solutions to special  engineering applications. 

TQC were successfully awarded a grant from the D2N2 Growth Hub Business Investment Fund. The grant will allow investment into developing existing mechanical and electrical CAD systems including the purchase of software and hardware. 

"TQC is really excited about the grant assistance that the D2N2 ERDF has given. In the new work reality of remote working, this project will extend our capability to supply hi-tech machines whilst enabling safe working for our staff"

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Bridge The Gap

Bridge The Gap are a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the mental health of children, parents and teachers in Derby City and beyond. They currently offer a range of services from free support sessions in the community and an active informative Facebook page, to low cost resources, courses and workshops. They also offer one-to-one support and training. With help from the D2N2 Growth Hub, Bridge the Gap have accessed government support and lottery funding to have successfully adapt their provision in order to continue trading through Covid-19. 

When Covid hit and we closed the doors on our space, I was heartbroken. We were half-way through  running courses and programmes for children, and they had to abruptly stop. We tried to bring the sessions to a therapeutic close online but when that was completed, I felt exhausted and drained, like my brain had switched off.  There was so much to think about, furloughing our small team and then considering what to do for myself. After getting in touch with Lisa and the hub again I spoke to two advisors and they just listened to me. They let me cry. I felt like they understood and then I was able to talk through my options with them. It helped me to plan, apply for funding and get my brain switched back on! I've worked hard throughout lockdown and now have the team back together; I believe we have evolved and grown throughout the crisis - I can't thank the hub enough.

Jennifer Wyman, Bridge the Gap  

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