Case Studies

Cumbria Aviation

Mike Morris’s new business is taking off in every sense of the phrase.

He and his wife Jelena launched Cumbria Aviation Ltd at the start of 2020. For Mike, it was the fulfilment of a long-standing ambition to turn his knowledge and passion for aviation into a business.

Mike said: “Cumbria Aviation is unique in that it’s really three businesses in one.  The clue is in the subtitle, ‘services, management and media’.”

The company provides technical services to aircraft owners and groups, professional management services for business development and growth around airfields suitable for light sport aircraft and microlight operations and training, and commercial support for aviation print and digital publications.

Mike’s career to date had encompassed the automotive sector, business development and the media but he is also an experienced flying instructor and examiner, and a qualified senior aircraft inspector who had voluntarily provided technical services across the light sport and general aviation sector.

He said: “The business idea was not new, the timing just needed to be right.

Circumstances aligned at the end of 2019 and provided the perfect opportunity to pull all three components together under a single new business.”

Earlier in his career Mike had worked for Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, the lead partner in Cumbria Business Growth Hub, so he had no hesitation in signing up for the Growth Hub’s Business Start-Up Support (BSUS) programme.

The package of free support includes a three-day course covering the basics of starting a business, one-to-one meetings with a business adviser, training, help with a business plan and membership of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce.

Mike said: “It’s amazing that, even after years of working at a professional level, how little you really know about setting up and starting a business.

“Tony Ferguson, the business adviser provided by the Growth Hub, played an essential role and was crucial in ensuring that key decisions were made correctly.

“Apart from the basics, such as whether to operate as a sole trader or a limited company, he helped pull together a proper business plan and was a revelation in that he really helped us to overcome the fear of a starting a new business and instilled a belief that we could progress the idea.”

Mike found the three-day course for start-ups invaluable. He added: “The information, particularly in regard to marketing, finance and accounting, was extremely useful and directly applicable to our business.”

Cumbria Aviation made a flying start – if you’ll excuse the pun – with income from the first months of trading ahead of the business plan although the services and management aspects were grounded when the Coronavirus lockdown came into force.

Mike remains optimistic about the outlook.

He said: “I’m confident that, post pandemic, we’ll be able to pick things back up and get back on track in line with the business plan.”

Find out how Cumbria Business Growth Hub can help your business.

Call us today on 0844 257 84 50.

ERDF logoThe funding that supports the Growth Hub comes from a range of sources including Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, the European Regional Development Fund, Sellafield Ltd., Carlisle City Council, South Lakeland District Council, Penrith Industrial BID and  Cumbria LEP.  The Growth Hub is receiving up to £2,528,767 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The BSUS project is receiving up to £1,112,686 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information, click here.