Friday, April 28, 2017

News: Rotherham steelworkers record strong start as entrepreneurs

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Vinyl Soundbar, a new start business in Rotherham, has quickly found its groove and is already offering new services and planning to take on new staff.

Launching on the town's Centenary Indoor Market just before Christmas, the enterprise was founded by former employees of Tata Steel, and life-long friends, Jason Sayles and Ian Hawkridge after both being made redundant from their jobs as a non-destructive testing engineers following 21 years with the company.

Selling CDs, audio cassettes and event tickets for live music venue, the Cutlers Arms, the duo secured £500 from UK Steel Enterprise's Kickstart Fund which allowed the business to purchase vital record cleaning and office administrative equipment to help it get off the ground.

In turn, Jason and Ian are able to offer a wider range of services, develop the company website and manage its social media presence.

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Jason said: "Music is a huge passion of ours. When we were made redundant in 2016 it was only a natural progression for us to use the opportunity to follow our dream of owning our own business in the sector – providing local people with access to good music, new and old, as well as a host of other services.

"The funding that we have received from the UK Steel Enterprise Kickstart Fund has allowed us to buy a computer and a record cleaning machine and now, after just four months, we've got a strong and loyal customer base who are delighted to have the shop on their doorstep, as well as access to our product range online."

UKSE is part of Tata Steel and invests up to £1m in growing companies, particularly those creating jobs.

Launched in February 2016 by UKSE, with support from RIDO and Rotherham Youth Enterprise, the Kickstart Fund consists of a separate £40,000 pot dedicated to supporting people looking to establish a business in the area with grants between £500 and £1,000.

Keith Williams of UK Steel Enterprise (pictured, left), said: "In just a few short months Jason and Ian have established a reputation on the local music scene; not only selling records, CDs, cassettes and gig tickets, but also providing services that weren't previously available.

"They have their sights set firmly on growth and expansion –with plans to recruit an additional team member in the coming months – and we're looking forward to following Vinyl Soundbar's journey."

Vinyl Soundbar website
UKSE website

Images: UKSE


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