A business success story thanks to council grant scheme

Published on 2nd March 2011

More than 44 new jobs have been created locally after 17 businesses received grants from Cheltenham Borough Council.

Through the council's Business Pride scheme, companies were able to apply for 50 percent off their first year's rent during 2010 when the recession was gripping the economy. More than a year on, the businesses have their own success stories to tell.

Sarah Daly, managing director of Heath Avery Architects Ltd benefited from a rental grant, she said:  ''We heard about the Cheltenham Business Pride rental scheme and were extremely grateful for the support this gave us in terms of managing some of the costs of moving and giving our business the potential to expand. We moved to Maxet House on Lansdown Industrial Estate - a real unexpected gem of a building which suits our requirements perfectly. The Business Pride scheme was simple to access and entirely supportive to our needs as a local business.''

To qualify for funding, businesses had to demonstrate good employment growth prospects and employ no more than one hundred people. They were also asked to meet the following criteria:
·   Be a start-up business or within the first 3 years of trading in  Cheltenham or;
·   Be moving into Cheltenham for the first time or;
·   Be moving from one premises in Cheltenham to another larger site

Grants were offered to support the creation of new jobs or retention of existing jobs. Applicants were required to have a review through Business Link South West, designed to make sure that their business plan has good long-term prospects. 

Chris Dagnall, director of Revolve Studios Ltd on Regent Street also received help with the first year's payment of rent, he said:  ''I'm extremely grateful for the help and support that the council has offered Revolve Studios during the past twelve months. Since opening in August 2009, my business has broken even in the first year of trading and created twenty new jobs for local people. We have now opened our second store in Cardiff and used extra Cheltenham staff to help support the business during the first few months.  Without the grant, we would not have been able to achieve our goal of opening our business and would have struggled to keep our heads above water.''

Pia Cato, owner of Vanilla Pod Bakery received the funding just at the right time, she said:  ''At the time I heard about the grant I was already thinking of moving the business from its original start up as a home business to a premises, as I was rapidly running out of space, however the numbers were not adding up.  After applying to the council I was overjoyed when I heard I had been awarded the grant, it then made it financially viable to move the business into an external premises. The Vanilla Pod Bakery has been successfully operating from its kitchen unit in St Georges Place, Cheltenham for a year.''

Council leader Steve Jordan said:  ''Through the scheme we have been able to encourage many new business start-ups and the development of early stage businesses. While the grants themselves were quite small, targeted in the right way at the right time they made quite a difference. This has helped create a number of new jobs and the scheme was one of the ways we encouraged economic growth through the recession.''

The scheme closed in April 2010 and no further rental grants are available.

Photo opportunities can be arranged and further case studies can be provided on request

For press enquiries, contact: Katie Sandey, communications team leader, telephone 01242 775050 or email: Katie.sandey@www.cheltenham.gov.uk

Successful applicants were: Anthony Green Hair Salon (Whaddon); Avicenna Design Ltd (Lansdown Industrial Estate); Bike Dirty Ltd (Space Business Centre); Blighty (the Suffolks); Danny's Fish Bar (Lower High Street); Exposure Tanning (Pittville Street); PC Fix GL (Lower High Street); Revolve Studios (Regent Street); Vanilla Pod Bakery (St George's Place); Westminster Theological Centre (Winchcombe Street); BryCAM (Crooks' Industrial Estate); Focus Networks (Manchester Business Park); Grey Hair Management Ltd (Lansdown Industrial Estate); Heath Avery Architects Ltd (Lansdown Industrial Estate); Novus Sales Ltd (Lansdown Crescent Lane); Paul Dobson Carpets (Mead Road, Leckhampton); Silver Ball PR (Tivoli).