Sometimes timing is everything is business. That was the case for Ian Coates, Managing Director of Archipelago Choice, when an email popped into his inbox to promote the Growth Hub’s Subsidy Scheme.
Archipelago Choice is an award-winning tour operator based in Keswick that specialises in tailor-made holidays to the Portuguese islands of the Azores, Madeira, Cape Verde and Sao Tome. It also organises trips to Portugal, Baja Mexico, Namibia, Cuba and Costa Rica.
Ian explained: “I always look at the emails from Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and Cumbria Business Growth Hub. Until then nothing had really fitted with what we needed but the information about the Subsidy Scheme came at exactly the right time.”
The scheme enables ERDF-eligible businesses looking to grow to access a 40% subsidy, up to a maximum of £4,000, towards the cost of specialist support.
Eligible projects include marketing advice, web development, accountancy and legal advice, social media consultancy, and gaining accreditations – that isn’t an exhaustive list by any means.
Growth Hub advisers can work with the business, free of charge, to help put together a brief and select an appropriate consultant. They can also advise the business on how to manage the project.
Ian had a three-year plan to develop a fairly sophisticated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
He said: “We have our own IT system but it doesn’t have a CRM within it. All our customers are in one big pot and it can be a pain to extract data.
“As a start we wanted to set up a single client record and, on the back of that over time, to build a bespoke CRM. The Subsidy Scheme allowed us to pay an IT company to develop the initial module.”
Ian found the application process straightforward and Archipelago Choice was successful in securing the maximum £4,000 grant towards the £10,000 project.
He added: “We started but had to stop halfway through because Coronavirus brought our business to a standstill. We couldn’t spend any more money and, in any case, our IT company furloughed most of their staff.
“Hopefully, we will be able to resume but we don’t know when.”
To find out more about the Subsidy Scheme click here and to talk to us about the Growth Hub can help your business, call today on 0844 257 84 50.
The 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 and 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 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.