Monday, May 12, 2014

News: 4 Ever Able receives kickstart grant

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A young entrepreneur from Rotherham has spotted a gap in the bathroom market and launched her own new business with the aid of financial support from UK Steel Enterprise.

Victoria Ryan from Upper Haugh launched 4 Ever Able after receiving an invaluable grant from UK Steel Enterprise's Kickstart Fund, which was set up to support new and emerging businesses in Rotherham.

4 Ever Able is dedicated to supporting people that need adaptations to their bathrooms. The adaptations may be needed by the elderly, those with personal care needs or those with a disability. Victoria has fitted out the new showrooms at the Sycamore Centre on Eastwood Trading Estate with eight different bathrooms thanks to help from her father who runs his own plumbing and fitting business.

Victoria says she found inspiration for launching the business in a previous role and then spotted the opportunity to bring in other members of the family. She said: "I used to be a mobile hairdresser and catered for a lot of people with mobility issues. I realised that there was nowhere close to Rotherham where they could go and try out mobility adaptations; to see how raised seating, special doors or wheelchair access works in practice. It makes such a difference to people when they can go and see what their own bathroom could look and work like. I then got to thinking that I could link up with my dad to be my preferred plumber and fitter, which means I have total confidence in my supply chain."

Victoria's father is not the only plumber in the family, his father also ran his own plumbing business which suggests there are some entrepreneurial genes in the family.

Although Victoria got help from her family to fit out the previous industrial unit into a pristine showroom, the grant she received from UK Steel Enterprise was vital in allowing it to open. "I used the grant to pay for the fixtures and fittings of the showroom so without them there really is nothing for customers to look at. I'm very grateful for the support from UK Steel and Rotherham Youth Enterprise who helped me with my business planning," says Victoria.

Although the business currently employs just Victoria, she has expansion plans that will see her take on up to five other people in the next three years.

UK Steel Enterprise is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Steel. Its Kickstart Fund provides grants of up to £500 to start-up businesses to purchase essential equipment and or services that can get them trading. Its main investment fund provides business finance in amounts from £25,000 up to £750,000 to companies in South Yorkshire and other areas affected by changes in the steel industry.

Allan Wood, regional executive for UK Steel Enterprise says that Victoria shows all the signs of building a small business that could quite quickly grow into a successful enterprise. "Our Kickstart Fund is designed as a platform for growing small businesses. Victoria clearly has good vision for an opening in the market and the foresight to make sure she is not let down by suppliers. She has created a business that is all about responding to customer needs and her commitment to customer care is very evident. We wish her all the very best for her business and hope it goes on to bigger things quite soon. We want to talk to and support even more people like Victoria so more new businesses are launched in South Yorkshire."

Applicants to the Kickstart Fund can get support from Rotherham Investment & Development Office (RIDO) and Rotherham Youth Enterprise (RYE) to help them with business planning and mentoring through the early stages. UK Steel Enterprise has helped over 200 people start a business in Rotherham since 2009.

Jackie Frost, manager of Rotherham Youth Enterprise, said: "Victoria has a very clever business model that brings in business experience she can trust – that will give her confidence in future. We hope to be working with her for several years as she looks to expand and create more jobs in Rotherham."

4 Ever Able website
UK Steel Enterprise website

Images: UK Steel Enterprise

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