No-one knows the challenges faced by new and small business owners quite like startup founders themselves. Start Up Loans has backed many businesses that aim to provide solutions and support to other aspiring and existing business owners. Business Advice looked at three that stand out.
Satago – Adam Horner and Steven Renwick
Satago are on a mission – they’ve set out to change the culture of late payments on invoices. Cashflow delays are a key issue for small business owners and late payments can financially ruin a startup. Horner and Renwick built Satago to try and help SMEs tackle the problem of late-paying customers after Adam’s experience growing up with a family business in the construction sector.
The first version of Satago was built after a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, where they raised £30,000. After building their prototype the duo managed to grow their customer base through attention from the press and interest from investors. They began raising money but found it hard to get the required amount.
The two Start Up Loans received by Horner and Renwick respectively allowed them to keep developing Satago. Now Satago is in a position where it is fast-becoming the leading solution for UK SMEs to manage accounts receivable. It has already gained exposure in a host of national publications including the Guardian, Telegraph, BBC and Independent.
Today Satago has ten employees and has raised over seven figures of angel investment. 2016 will see the firm roll out a new product – financially covering for late payments with cashflow on systems becoming fully-automated through the cloud.
Launch22 – Eddie Holmes
At the age of 19, Eddie Holmes already had more business pedigree than most. He’d been running his own businesses since he was 16 and had established a property service business with funding and support from Start Up Loans delivery partner the Prince’s Trust. Having experienced the benefits of mentoring first-hand with the Prince’s Trust he decided to get involved himself.
Inspired to provide more than just traditional mentoring, Holmes saw that many business owners struggled to find affordable premises in the early stages of their startup journey. These issues gave Holmes the idea to start Launch22, a charity which provides full service incubation to aspiring business owners in every sector and stage.
Launch22 offers cheap workspace and aims to create a community within premises. A place where people can offer advice and guidance to each other and can collaborate on new or existing ideas. They don’t provide funding, but signpost service users to schemes such as Start Up Loans. The local MP Megan Hiller, has been supportive of the charity and has even managed to get a mention of Launch22 in the Queen’s speech.
Launch22 has already established itself in Liverpool and London. Holmes is hoping to expand to other major UK cities that he has identified as needing help in promoting and supporting particularly young entrepreneurs. For example, Liverpool had one of the lowest rates of enterprise per capita in the UK and was therefore a prime target.
As a charity, Launch22 has a strong social mission. 30 per cent of the space it provides for enterprising start ups is free and available to those who are from disadvantaged backgrounds. A 2016 mentoring program sees 15 mentors giving free advice to members.
Advantage Business Partnerships – Daryl Woodhouse
Daryl Woodhouse worked in financial services in both leadership and management roles. During his time in the industry he joined a corporate responsibility scheme where he voluntarily mentored small businesses. He enjoyed this scheme so much that he decided he wanted to do it full time, quit his job and set up Advantage Business Partnerships (ABP).
Advantage Business Partnerships provides a range of training and consultancy programs to ambitious companies, helping them prioritise their growth challenges and identify methods to achieve them.
With a Start Up Loan, Daryl was able to fund training of his employees and the firm now has eight staff on the books alongside a network of 25 self employed advisors. ABP aims to provide mentoring, training and financial support to small business owners across the UK.
ABP is unique in the scope of the support it provides. Unlike traditional business support providers that are often self-employed and only specialise in one area of support, ABP gives a wide-range of support. Each client has a bespoke package and many initially want support for a period of between three to four months.
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