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New support for innovative and high growth businesses in the South East

15 July 2009

Business support designed to help innovative and high growth companies drive their way out of the recession has been launched by SEEDA.

South East Business Innovation and Growth Teams (IGTs) throughout the region will provide tailored coaching, mentoring and networking opportunities to businesses of all sizes. They are staffed by experienced business professionals. The support will be tailored to the needs of each business, to help maximise their growth and development. IGTs will draw on an investment of up to £20 million, supplemented by private sector investment.

Innovation and Growth Teams will focus on delivering five areas of support which are part of the 'Solutions for Business' initiative funded by the Government. These areas are:

  • starting a high growth business;
  • innovation advice and guidance;
  • coaching for high growth;
  • understanding finance for business;
  • and business collaboration networks.

The support will now be available to businesses with high growth potential of all sizes, from start-ups to major corporations, and within all industries. Any new or existing businesses with the potential, desire and capability for sustainable high growth could qualify.

Pam Alexander, SEEDA Chief Executive, said: "SEEDA's overall objective is to drive economic growth within the South East. South East Business Innovation and Growth Teams provide a new approach to ensure that businesses can access the expertise they need now. It will build on the successes of the Enterprise Hub Network, Innovation Advisory Service and High Growth Coaching and is a major boost for innovative and high growth businesses in the region."

Innovation and Growth Teams, which are backed by local economic partnerships, universities and Business Link, are being introduced in two phases. Starting now they will be working with businesses in West Surrey and North East Hants, Solent, Thames Valley , and Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes . Enterprise Hubs will continue to operate in Kent and Medway, East Surrey and West Sussex, Oxfordshire, East Sussex and Brighton and Hove until the introduction of Innovation and Growth Teams at the end of 2009.

For further information, please visit the Innovation and Growth website.

Case studies are available below.

View full media release here.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Tanya Reed , Media Relations Manager, SEEDA
Tel: 01483 501 362
Email: tanyareed@seeda.co.uk

David Quilter, Press Officer, SEEDA
Tel: 01483 470 155
Email: davidquilter@seeda.co.uk 

Case Study: Stingray Geophysical Limited

Founded in 2006 to commercialise a unique fibre-optic sensing technology, Stingray enables oil and gas companies to optimise production and increase their reserves while reducing cost and risk through improved reservoir management strategies.

The company’s Fosar® system consists of an array of passive fibre-0ptic sensors connected by fibre-optic cable. When connected to surface recording equipment, the compact interrogation unit receives and decodes the returning signals to provide full-wave seismic imaging data for detailed reservoir characterisation and monitoring. Fosar’s highly scalable, flexible architecture and substantial sensor count per fibre facilitate safe and easy deployment of large seabed sensor arrays.

The core technology was originally developed for anti-submarine warfare and security purposes by the UK’s defence research laboratories and is now being exploited for oil and gas seismic sensing applications by Stingray under an exclusive licence. Together with its partners, Stingray offers a complete solution from planning through to processing and answer products.

The West Surrey and North East Hants Innovation and Growth Team*, which forms part of south East Business Innovation and Growth – www.innovationgrowth.co.uk - has worked closely with Stingray Geophysical to help commercialise the company’s solutions, providing business mentoring and support in areas such as intellectual property, marketing and PR.

The Team provides blended support to clients across several areas, notably: starting a high growth business, innovation advice and guidance, high growth coaching, understanding finance for business, and business collaboration networks.

In 2008 Stingray sought an additional £3.2 million of funding for productisation and business expansion activities. This was raised from Stingray’s original investors - Energy Ventures, Chevron Technology Ventures, StatoilHydro Venture - and Cody Gate Ventures.

*Previous and similar support was provided by The Surrey Enterprise Hub.

"The IGT have shown great interest in Stingray and our business challenges. They have understood our business, listened to our needs and provided tailored support to assist us in growing our business across such areas as business mentoring, IP, marketing, PR, contracts and team dynamics."

Martin Bett, CEO Stingray Geophysical Limited

Case study: More Food

More Food manufactures high quality cakes employing traditional, handmade baking methods. Caron Howe, founder and managing director, knew she had a great idea when customers started queuing around the block for her chocolate caramel crispy cake from her café in Chichester.

"Nobody was really using handmade production,” she explains. “Competitors of similar products use mass production techniques that, inevitably, damage quality.

Having sold the café to concentrate on supplying a local wholesaler, Caron found herself baking cakes out of a small manufacturing unit using one oven, a microwave and a single table. The cakes were delicious and very soon the More Food name was synonymous with quality. It wasn’t long before a second wholesaler came on board with an order for an additional 200 cakes a week.

The cakes were delicious and very soon the

More Food name was synonymous with quality.

Before long, she was supplying nationally to Budgens and Waitrose stores and the business itself really started to grow. Given her lack of experience, Caron received advice that she should look at high growth coaching support.

"At first I really wasn’t sure I had the time to commit, but looking back I don’t think I could ever have done without it,” she admits More Food started as a family business and quickly outgrew both its core competences and premises. “We were not financially efficient and had no idea how to source, negotiate and perform a major relocation,” says Caron.

It is here that Andrew Cross, More Food’s high growth coach, has added such a tremendous value.

The financial reporting, costing and margin management wasn’t getting

sufficient attention in order to support such rapid business growth.

"Caron’s innovative recipes and determination to use only the finest ingredients, allied to the use of traditional baking methods, is the key to her success,” explains Andrew. “But the financial reporting, costing and margin management wasn’t getting sufficient attention in order to support such rapid business growth.”

Andrew’s advice was to find a finance director working part time, which enabled Caron to have a clearer picture and control over the company’s financial matters.

"This would never have happened without Andrew’s involvement. My passion was for baking cakes, but if you can’t afford to run the business, you haven’t got a business.”

Finding new premises is crucial to More Food’s continued growth, and demand for its products remains very strong, even in the current recession.

For more information please contact our press office

Tel: 01483 470155