O'Connor and Co

O’Connor & Co is a multi-award winning removals and storage company operating in Mansfield, Chesterfield and Sheffield.

The D2N2 Growth Hub in conjunction with North East Derbyshire District Council, has been able to support the business through a whole range of dedicated adviser support. Our Adviser Manager was able to carry out an information, diagnostic and brokerage (IDB) service with Sean which allowed for analysis of several aspects of the business including culture, marketing, finances, KPIs and more. The adviser was then able to work closely with Sean to help improve these areas to enable business growth. O’Connor’s has also benefited from in depth support on business strategy and signposting to funding options.

We’ve worked hard looking at our vision, looking at our culture, our retention, our marketing, finances, KPI’s, kaizens, I could go on, we’ve done everything-setting goals and hitting them. We’ve started fighting back after the deficit of Covid had on our company. I certainly cannot thank them (my D2N2 advisers) enough (even on the guidance on books). Truly helped us through the hardest of times. A personal message to you both: thank you.

Sean O’Connor - O’Connor & Co Director

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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 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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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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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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STENCIL Creative

STENCIL is a multi-discipline creative agency based in Nottingham helping businesses grow through design. They work in multiple sectors, across varying jobs and with clients that are both local and international. 

The Growth Hub webinars and access to the Growth Hub Peer Networks Programme has proven to be one of the biggest positives to eventuate from the last 18 months. The sessions offered some formal business instruction to support the experience accrued by the business owners over many years. The Peer Networks meetings provided a safe space for all participants to explore big picture questions around their businesses. And as every business leader appreciates, these broader opportunities for development aren’t ones that necessarily present themselves during the regular working week. In short, lots has been learned at STENCIL, and shared.

We’ve grown as a business by - we believe - doing good work for great clients, all driven by our overarching purpose. Ensuring that staff members develop as all-round team players is part and parcel of that growth. Trust is huge. And to do this successfully, it's also on the senior team to support them in their understanding. STENCIL's Art Director, Vicky Elwick, does a lot of the day-to-day heavy lifting in this regard. Coordinating the work of full-time team members and also with regards young people on placement, primarily students from Confetti. Two of these talented executives have recently ended up staying with us in permanent roles.

Andy Afford, Managing Director 

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3D Ultimate Medical Aesthetics

3D Ultimate is an Aesthetic clinic based in the Lace Market district of Nottingham. They specialise in providing bespoke treatments for discerning and celebrity clients who value the high standard of service, outstanding results, and individual attention. 3D Ultimate uses the latest medical-grade technology and innovative new services that are not available elsewhere. In addition to this, they only have one client at any one time at the clinic and give them the care, time, and personal attention they deserve.

The support they received from the D2N2 Growth Hub was two-fold, their Growth Hub Adviser was able to support them in upskilling the business in a period of downtime by suggesting the D2N2 Growth hub digital marketing webinars and action planning workshops. 

The Covid-19 Pandemic has given us the time to refocus our brand on delivering a level of individual service not seen anywhere outside London. All our services are bespoke, offer exceptional value and deliver fantastic results. The pandemic has allowed us the time to develop a new and innovative range of services that will continue to strengthen our brand. We have been fortunate to receive digital marketing support from the D2N2 Growth Hub, which is giving us the skills and knowledge to capitalise on this innovative approach and effectively reach our target audience.

Tatiana Hallam – 3D Ultimate – Medical Aesthetics

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HP Health Group

HP Health Group is a health and wellbeing company based in Nottingham and covering the Midlands.The business established during the first Coronavirus lockdown after they experienced the difficulties that friends and family had who were struggling to maintain their health and wellbeing, especially with the many changes that disrupted normal daily routines at that time. They believe that it is of utmost importance that people are healthy at work, both physically and mentally and they want to do this at the client’s convenience. Their services include in-house Physiotherapy clinics, health and wellbeing days including (Physiotherapy, Psychology, Nutrition and Personal Training consultations), in house exercise classes, a wellbeing subscription service and more. 

Due to starting the business in the middle of a pandemic, HP Health found it a challenge to reach out to or meet new clients. Webinars provided by the D2N2 Growth Hub on topics such as marketing, advertising, and using LinkedIn have therefore been particularly valuable. As a result of the guidance and knowledge gained, the business have since begun to formulate their own marketing strategy. In addition, they have been able to continuously update and improve their website, utilising information from webinars on SEO optimisation among others, to ensure that the website is of a high standard and reaching as many new customers as possible online.

The growth hub has assisted not only in developing the business, but also myself as a business owner. As someone who is new to running a business, I could find myself spending hours trying to find information which could all be found in a single webinar provided by the growth hub. I have therefore been able to invest the time I have saved in developing the business further, implementing positive changes from the knowledge I acquired, which have since started to become apparent.

Ben Healey, Co-Founder HP Health Group

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KRYSTAL is a start-up footwear eCommerce platform established in July 2021, operating from the East Midlands with a global presence. Designing trainers, which are art-inspired by the renowned masterpiece artworks of Claude Monet, Gustav Klimt and Kazimir Malevich, which are handcrafted by master Italian artisans.

The growth of the virtual world and digital marketing meant that the business was aware of the importance of amplifying and maintaining its online presence in order to attract customers worldwide. In particular, KRYSTAL wanted to create a strong brand with cruelty free and environmentally friendly values that would resonate with their target market and help influence the purchasing choices of mankind. They attended several D2N2 Growth Hub webinars and action planning workshops on social media marketing, branding, website development and email marketing. These provided the perfect vehicle for the business to become knowledgeable on what might be possible, given the challenges of the Covid pandemic and launching a new business. D2N2 advisers also offered useful tips and know-how for positioning and promoting the business differently Post-Covid, using social media channels such as Pinterest and Instagram.

D2N2 has given KRYSTAL the opportunity to create a personal branding that is powerful and effective; the consultants during the master classes communicated that the right question to ask is "Are you sure that the way you see yourself, is the way others see you?" In other words that the crux is not the Industry sector, but the marketing strategy with which you relate to your customers and empathise with them, sharing their similar values. Due to lockdown, and with businesses yet to return to pre-pandemic work conditions, we were fortunate to receive free advice online through various D2N2 webinars, and the business information on their website is invaluable.

Lola Adefope, KRYSTAL by Lola

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Viridis Building Services - D2N2 UpScaler

Viridis Building Services is a design and engineering consultancy which specialises in ensuring that buildings and their mechanical and electrical systems are net zero and as environmentally friendly as possible.

Lee Marshall, Viridis’ managing director, engaged with UpScaler because he was struggling to recruit engineers with the right levels of skills and expertise to help take the business forward. He wanted to ensure that the business was doing everything it could to attract, retain and develop the right people and invest in its team to help it achieve its growth objectives. UpScaler and Nottingham Trent University funded a business diagnostic and several hours of one-to-one coaching for Lee, who also attended several workshops on subjects including HR, culture and marketing. Following the workshops and mentoring support, the business has invested in a rebrand and a new website, to better showcase its services, brand and values to potential clients.

The support we’ve received from UpScaler has allowed us to focus on some key areas to help take the business forward, including giving our marketing a complete overhaul and implementing a holiday policy designed to boost staff morale and help our people feel happier at work.

Lee Marshall, Viridis Building Services

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John O'Donnell
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