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5 companies and ideas that used government initiatives to grow

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Bits & Bobs

Initiative: Fiver Challenge

The Fiver Challenge, which ran for the first time during June 2014, provides children with 5 and challenges them to see what they can turn it in to in a month. Prizes are awarded in both the 5-8 and 9-11 age groups for ‘most profit’, ‘most inspiring individual’ and ‘best community engagement’.

Fiver manager Holly Bateson explained that this year the Grasby All Saints CE Primary students showed how creative students can truly be, and that the seeds of entrepreneurship can start at a young age.

The primary school students, who won the best community engagement prize, began their task, Bits & Bobs, by doing their own market research. By positioning themselves at the school gate for a week, they were able to offer samples and taster sessions of their merchandise to a wide range of customers.

“With sales to a range of people within the local community, Buts & Bobs made a total income of 83.32 and a profit of 63.31. They donated 25 per cent of their profits to charity and used the rest of the money to organise a disco to raise funds for their next project.

This has helped introduce young people to the world of enterprise and helps them build important employability skills which they can continue to develop in later life.

Read more about the fiver challenge:

Allied Ventura

Initiative: Growth voucher

The Growth Vouchers scheme offers advice and guidance to businesses taking part and subsidies of up to 2,000 towards the cost of that advice to successful applicants. The programme will then monitor business performance over the coming years in order to assess the impact that advice has had. Allied Ventura was one such company.

“Over a number of months, I had become increasingly aware that our online presence was not leading to new clients and that we did not properly understand the opportunities to use our website and search engines to drive our business,” said director David Whitehead. I applied for a Growth Voucher and selected Ascensor Ltd from the online marketplace as they are specialists in growing businesses online.

Ascensor helped us to understand the onsite expectations of the search engines, which meant an analysis of website page structures, how to create new website pages that meet good quality standards and how to safely make website changes without risking losing any authority within the rankings. They also provided training in how to analyse a websites external footprint, build up a back-link profile and disassociate the website from any link toxicity. Ascensor then worked on strategy development for future content production, both on and offsite to ensure the website remains healthy, regardless of future algorithm changes, through good quality, natural SEO.

“We will be recommending Growth Vouchers to other businesses in the future. The internet presents a huge opportunity for businesses to grow and when used properly can have a huge effect on their success. This means it is important for businesses to have an understanding of the online world. Even in the UK today many businesses dont have a grasp of their online potential and people still refer to some practices as a dark art .

“This is not the case digital marketing is not only very effective but is also very measurable. It is important that businesses take advice to ensure that if they pay for services they understand what they are getting and when they have received a service they can properly evaluate it.”

Read more about Growth Vouchers:

Austin Hayes

Initiative: Government contract

In 2010, Austin Hayes secured a ten year partnering agreement with Defence Equipment and Supplies. Established in 1953, Austin Hayes has developed an unrivalled knowledge of ammunition containers and associated parts, quickly becoming the UKs leading refurbishment specialist and has evolved techniques enabling larger proportions of used ammunition packaging to either be recycled or refurbished year on year.

The deal struck with Ministry of Defence (MOD) included five years firm and options to extend for up to a further five years based on contract performance,” said MD Nik Vjestica. By use of innovative techniques, we have developed to become a key supplier, demonstrating skills that are difficult to source worldwide, and providing significant environmental benefits.

“We also dedicated to driving down costs, both as a company and for the MOD as our main customer, and are constantly working to understand their requirements. As a result, the contract is estimated to save the taxpayer 11m per year by avoiding the cost of buying new packaging, when compared to cost refurbished packaging to an equivalent standard.

Essentially, Vjestica said that working with the government itself helped them to grow.

“Working with the MOD has provided our company with a robust platform to plan
for the future,” he said. It has provided us with a clear pathway for strategic investment in new equipment and the training of staff. Through continuous improvement and innovation we have generated important contract benefits and cost savings.

At the same time and pace, the company has strengthened overall capability
and is better prepared to meet any new challenges ahead.The MOD business has also allowed us to diversify and expand our range of surface preparation and protective coating application services for UK engineering companies supplying steel fabrications, valves and equipment to oil and gas industries worldwide.

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