SYMCA - Levelling Up

Barnsley plumber turns up heat on entrepreneurial ambitions

A Barnsley-based entrepreneur who found himself facing redundancy during the first national lockdown has tapped into a new career after calling on help from Launchpad.

Richard Adlington took the plunge into self-employment after carving out a successful career with a leading commercial catering equipment company. During his twenty years with the business he progressed through the ranks, rising from his role installing commercial kitchen equipment into pubs and hotels to overseeing a national portfolio of installation and refurbishment projects. However, when the first national lockdown forced the closure of the hospitality industry, orders fell from 250 planned projects to just one. Richard was made redundant and he faced an uncertain future.

Keen to build a new livelihood, the aspiring Penistone-based entrepreneur found inspiration after spotting a post in a social media community forum asking for plumbing advice. He continued scrolling through the forum and realised the desperate plea for help wasn’t a one-off. There appeared to be a shortage of qualified and experienced plumbers in Barnsley. Drawing on the skills he first mastered as an apprentice, Richard decided to explore running his own business to meet the rising demand.

Despite having a wealth of industry knowledge, Richard knew that working as a plumber was different to running his own business. With many different things to consider ranging from managing finance to building a customer base, he knew he needed help to tap into the new business opportunity. Support came from Launchpad, a unique programme designed to equip new business owners in the Sheffield City Region with the vital skills needed to set up and run their own business. Working alongside an experienced business adviser, Richard began formulating his ideas, but before picking up his trusty tool bag, he spent time perfecting his business plan to give his business the best possible start.

A key consideration for Richard was understanding the financial support needed to launch the business and the potential impact further measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 would have on his future plans. Adopting a worst case scenario, Richard began pouring over spreadsheets, which revealed his new business would need a vital cash injection to purchase a new commercial vehicle as well as providing the vital cash reserves needed to purchase raw materials and equipment needed during his first few months of trading.

Through Launchpad, Richard was introduced to Finance For Enterprise and working with experienced investment manager Ian Howson, he presented his business plans. Ian recommended that his business would be eligible to receive a Start-Up Loan: A specialist lending solution designed to support pre-start and new businesses, enabling Richard to secure the £7000 investment his business needed.

Radlington PHS is the 1000th new business to benefit from Start Up lending from Finance For Enterprise and since securing the funds, his business has successfully navigated Tier 3 restrictions and a two national lockdowns. His efforts have been rewarded and he has steadily built a growing base and his already planning to play his part in helping to Barnsley to overcome its shortage of plumbers by creating an apprenticeship opportunity in the future.

Richard Adlington, Owner of Radlington PHS said:

“I knew launching a business would be a big step, especially considering the impact of Covid-19, so I decided to speak to the Launchpad team for advice. I knew I had the technical skills and experience to work as a plumber, but I also knew running my own business meant getting the fundamentals right from day one.

“Launchpad helped me to gain a solid understanding of what was needed such as understanding my legal and financial responsibilities, finding customers and even knowing how to use social media for business purposes. At the top of my list was finance: I wanted to get a solid grasp of my figures and understand what impact another national lockdown may have on my business idea. Working with my business advisor, I produced a number of different scenarios, all of which revealed the business would require some investment. Through Launchpad I was introduced to Finance For Enterprise and as a result, I’ve been able to secure the funds needed to open my business.

“I was apprehensive about approaching Finance For Enterprise for funding, especially as you hear so many stories about viable businesses not being able to secure lending, but my Investment manager made the process really simple and straightforward. Within just a couple a weeks, I received a call telling me my loan had been approved, and I was able to secure the vehicle I needed really quickly. Since then I haven’t looked back and I’ve steadily built up a strong local customer base.”

Ben Hawley, Business Adviser, Launchpad said:

“Richard came to Launchpad with a clear idea how he wanted to build and grow his business but he wasn’t sure what steps would be needed to help him realise the potential in his ideas and he spent time taking part in wide range of training sessions and it was clear during our meetings that’s he’d spent a great deal of time developing and refining his ideas. The business plan he produced clearly illustrated a need for additional investment and the work he undertook enabled him to secure the funds needed to give his business the best possible start.”

Ian Howson, Business Advisor at Finance for Enterprise said:

“It was clear from our first meeting that Richard had spent a great deal of time planning his business. The financial projections he used to support his application were well thought out and by producing figures which took into account the impact of Covd-19, it was clear that the loan would not only help him to secure the vital equipment and transport his business needed to trade effectively, but crucially also provided a cash buffer to protect the business during the pandemic.

“Start Up Loans were developed specifically with new business owners in mind and for Richard to become the 1000th recipient, illustrates that the region is brimming with entrepreneurial talent, many of whom have innovated, adapted and succeeded during a particularly challenging time for small business owners.”

Launchpad is the Sheffield City Region’s key business support programme for new business. Financially supported by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by local authorities within the Sheffield City Region and the Prince’s Trust, the programme provides free help and support to budding entrepreneurs in the City Region. Entrepreneurs who access Launchpad are those who are thinking of starting their own business. The programme also provides additional, ongoing support to business owners with fewer than 10 employees.

Finance for Enterprise is a delivery partner of Start-Up Loans, administered by the British Business Bank, which is designed to help new entrepreneurs with limited trading history with the ability to secure finance. Since its launch in 2012, the Start Up Loans Company has provided nearly £55 million to more than 6,300 new entrepreneurs across Yorkshire & The Humber. Finance For Enterprise provides a range of tailored loans, aimed at helping SMEs throughout the Sheffield City Region and North East Lincolnshire and acts as a fund manager for the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and The Start Up Loans Company and provides business loans up to £250,000.

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