Saturday, 30 June 2018

Community-Owned Cafe, Naked Lunch, Brings Heart Warming Food to Smithdown

431 Smithdown Road Limited is a multi-stakeholder cooperative that trades through the successful Naked Lunch Café, which is based at 431 Smithdown Road in south Liverpool. The cooperative was formed by members of the local community in order to save a popular local café that was in danger of closing following the proprietor’s illness. The purchase of the lease, the refurbishment of the premises and the business start-up were all financed from members’ investment and subsequent revenues are 100% derived from the café’s trading activities.

Following support from Everton Development Trust under the Enterprise Hub, the cooperative was incorporated on 10th November 2016 (FCA Mutuals Registration Number 4341) and currently has 49 local investor members. The cooperative has been a key addition to the Smithdown Rd townscape, providing a beacon for community ownership and independent trading to counter the creeping dereliction and explosion of fast food takeaways from the north of the road and the spread of generic chain operations from the south. To this end, 431 Smithdown Road aims to be an exemplar of local wealth building and retention as a means of community regeneration.

Naked Lunch café employs 14 staff across a range of functions, including front of house and kitchen staff. First year turnover was £380,000 and second year turnover is projected to be £420,000. This rapid growth in sales revenue saw the café quickly pass the VAT threshold and the challenges that this presents.

In addition to being a café, Naked Lunch is also a popular and flexible venue. Since opening, the café has hosted numerous exhibitions, gigs and community events. Naked Lunch is an established venue for the annual Smithdown Rd Festival and has also played host to a number of sell-out performances by artists of local, national and international repute.

Naked Lunch provides an ideal exhibition space. The layout and ambience have attracted exhibitions from a range of diverse artists, including Joel Goldberg, Paul McCoy, Emma Boutet, Eimer Cavanagh, Jim Sharpe and Phil Hayes. In addition, the cafe has been used by the Writing on the Wall literary festival and as a venue for book launches and readings by an array of authors and poets.

Following the success of Naked Lunch Café, the cooperative is considering expansion into the ground floor of the adjacent premises at 429 Smithdown Road. This expansion will enable the café to provide a wider range of events, including exhibitions and concerts, as well as generate increased income from more tables, a larger kitchen and increased licensed trade.

Find out more about Naked Lunch Cafe by heading to their Facebook or Twitter here.

If you’re feeling inspired to find out more about going self-employed, contact us on 0151 706 8113 or

Friday, 29 June 2018

5 things to put on your business action plan today

‘What should I put on my business ‘to do’ list?’ is one of the questions our ‘Boost Your New Business’ trainers are always asked. When it comes to running a business in its first year, it can be easy to be side-tracked by the day-to-day running of your business and lose sight of your business goals.

That’s why its so important to take time out to strategize and create an action plan to keep you on track! Here are the FIVE things you should put on your ‘to do’ list today…

1. Re-visit your market research

Lack of market research is well-cited as one of the biggest causes of start-up failure. Everyone knows the importance of conducting market research before taking the plunge into a new business, but many forget to set aside time to keep up with the market as their business progresses.

You should be re-visiting your market research on a regular basis to find out how market trends and your customer needs are changing. And of course, to keep up with your competition!

2. Carry out an updated SWOT analysis

Much like your market research, your SWOT analysis can easily fall by the way-side in the day-to-day running of your business. But it’s an exercise which you simply can’t afford to forget.

The opportunities and threats within your market change on a daily basis, as do your strengths and weaknesses, so it’s vital that you continue to adapt and change with this document. This will help you to grasp those opportunities which can help you to grow and avoid pitfalls which could damage your business.

3. Review your pricing

When you first start out in business it can be easy to undervalue your product or service and sell yourself short when it comes to your pricing. This is one of the main mistakes we see new businesses making.

As you begin to grow into your business, make sure you set aside time to re-evaluate your value proposition and adjust your pricing accordingly. Don’t sell yourself short! It’s also worth bearing in mind that your competition may be changing their pricing strategy as the market changes.

4. Check your time budget

Between juggling your sales and marketing, business development and finances with the day-to-day running of your business, your time as a business owner is a very precious commodity. It can be easy to get side-tracked on tasks which take up your time but aren’t profitable. ‘Don’t become a busy fool’ is our motto!

Take ten minutes out to look at the tasks where you spend the most time and ask yourself if you could be working more smartly. There are lots of free tools out there which you can utilise. 

5. Review your marketing strategy

“How can I increase my sales?” is the BIG question. Clients always ask what they should be doing to reach their target customer and boost their sales – the answer will be different for every business.

If you’re putting hours into your marketing but aren’t seeing any return, then its time to change your approach. Ask yourself, am I using the right marketing channels? Am I engaging my audience – if not, why?

You can find out more of our top tips for actioning all of these factors through our free ‘Boost Your New Business’ programme. This is an interactive two-day course which will help you to survive and thrive in your first year of business.

To find out more, contact or call 0151 706 8113 for an informal chat. 

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Helping Katie to get her word out

With 18 years’ experience in marketing communications under her belt Katie Crozier decided it was about time to take the plunge and set up on her own, all with a little help from Enterprise Hub.

After leaving her full-time job, and a stint upcycling furniture, Get Your Word Out was born. Offering copy-writing and proof-reading services for marketing materials, from websites and blogs, to leaflets and brochures, Get Your Word Out is all about helping businesses to communicate with their clients more effectively.

Katie says: “I’m a big fan of plain English and getting to the point. No one has the time or inclination to read much these days, so what you have to say needs to be delivered quickly, clearly and authentically”. And this is the mantra on which her business is built.

When asking Katie what she did to get the ball rolling on her new venture, she said: “Honestly, I did all the wrong things. I left my job as soon as I decided I wanted to set up on my own and then started from scratch building up relationships with agencies, attending networking meetings and using all the connections I had to build my business.

“I would recommend that if you can, give yourself a good 6-12 months of planning your new business and networking with potential clients, while you’re in full time work, before making the leap.”

Katie soon approached the Enterprise Hub to find out what support was on offer and she was set up with our business advisor, Jo Mountfort, to help get her business off the ground. It wasn’t long until Katie was ready to take on Enterprise Hub’s range of courses, from social media training to help understanding tax and national insurance.

She says: “I had the works! I attended every course and met with a business advisor regularly and can heartily recommend it - it’s essential to have that support because quite unknowingly you can have some really silly ideas and indeed, miss the really obvious ones!”

Katie also makes it clear that being savvy with your income is essential when starting out in business: “I dropped lucky with some guaranteed copywriting work for a Chester agency - two days a week producing blogs/news stories for websites - but when this fizzled out early this year I struggled to get enough work to keep me afloat. Finding new clients is a slow process, and although for each job I’ve done I’ve had really good client endorsements, I don’t yet have enough work to sustain me so I supplement by income by being a background artist on Hollyoaks.

“The financial side of the business was the most daunting for me, having never been self-employed before, so the support of The Women’s Organisation, with training and meetings with a business advisor has been really useful.” 

With this in mind, Enterprise Hub was able to offer Katie tailored support to give her the skills to manage her cash flow effectively.

And it’s safe to say that Katie hasn’t looked backed since: “I’m really proud of what I have achieved so far and who knows what the future might bring. I love the fact that I’m getting to meet lots of new people and am really enjoying the work that I do. Getting positive comments from clients makes it all worthwhile and I get a little bit too excited every time an invoice is paid too!”  

Any parting words of wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs out there? “Soak up all the advice available and join the support networks out there within your business sector. Talk about it to everyone you know because you’ll be surprised where your leads come from.

“I had to call a locksmith out the other day, having left my key on the inside of the door, he was quick and efficient so I asked for his card. Turns out that as a new business he hasn’t got any cards, leaflets or a website. So I gave him my card and said “I can help you with that!”.

If you would like to find out more about Get Your Word Out, you can visit  

Enterprise Hub is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and offered FREE to residents of the Liverpool City Region. For more information on how to get support to start your business call 0151 706 8113 or email

Thursday, 21 June 2018

QUIZ! Find out which Enterprise Hub route is right for you

So, you've had a great business idea and need some guidance on what to do next, or perhaps you need some support in your first year of business? The good news is, Enterprise Hub is on hand with expert start-up advice and business support for residents of the Liverpool City Region!

From 1-2-1 start-up advice from our team of business advisors, to our 'Boost Your New Business' programme, Enterprise Hub is here to help you. 

Take our quiz to find out which route is right for you...

If you would like to find out more about the courses and services on offer through Enterprise Hub, contact or call 0151 706 8113 for an informal chat. 

Sefton Residents Get ‘A Taste of Business’ at Rent a Space

Kevin Murphy, owner of Switch island based ‘Rent a Space’ opened the storage and business facility out of hours to welcome budding local entrepreneurs.  Teaming with business start up support programme Enterprise Hub and local growth hub Invest Sefton, ‘A Taste of Business’ gave Sefton residents just that!

Kevin Murphy and team from Rent a Space

The Wadud Family from Perfect Samosa

The evening offered talks from businesses who were between 7 weeks and 3 years into their business journey to give those attending an idea of what to expect.  More than 50 guests were also treated to a tour of the facility to see the variety of local enterprise housed there, from a Gym to fashion design studio, and even Scouse Bird Problems shop front.
Whilst enjoying what Kevin refers to as “the 3 p’s of business” (Pizza, prosecco and peroni) those with a business idea soaked in advice and inspiration from the businesses.
Sanya Wadud from Perfect Samosa who started out in Bootle kicked off the proceedings sharing how they have continued to grow and develop, achieving recognition from the likes of the BBC Good Food guide, and continuing to explore marketing and PR opportunities for their family run enterprise.

Personal Trainer Joe

Kevin Murphy Interviewing Fashion Designer Alex

Katie showing off her cupcakes

Personal trainer Joe from Workout Liverpool confessed “We started from our end dream. We went big from the start, it’s a challenge, but we knew what we wanted” explaining why they began with such a large unit at Rent a Space.  Mum of 5 Emily who took a unit at Rent a Space just 7 weeks ago to develop her cake making and children’s party business explained that maternity leave made her re-evaluate what she wanted and realised family flexibility was her core driver for going self-employed. Fashion designer Alex of A.M by Alex Meade shared that moving from a shop front to her design studio at Rent a Space meant she now avoids time wasters and has a steady flow of customers ready to buy.
“Social media is key to business success” was the resounding theme that was echoed through each talk.

Bernie Cox from Enterprise Hub Managing Agent The Women’s Organisation and Julie Swarbrick, business growth adviser at Invest Sefton, encouraged the crowd that Sefton is open for business and free support is on hand to help anyone ready for the challenge. 

Bernie Cox from The WO & John Matthias from Alt Valley

Enterprise Hub Marketing Manager Jo Austin said “We are so grateful to Kevin Murphy for offering his space for this inspiring event.  It is so important to have successful entrepreneurs like Kevin willing to support and mentor the next generation of business owners, and that is the atmosphere that has been created at Rent a Space.

As a team it is great for us to link up with Invest Sefton as through Enterprise Hub and their local growth hub we can offer a full service to start up and growing businesses in the local area. No matter which area of business causes you the most headaches, or if you just have a thought you want to run by an expert, there is someone there who can offer that listening ear and advice, and hopefully this event helped to show that to those who came along.”
If you missed the event, but are keen to speak to someone about how you can start or grow you business then you can get in touch with the Enterprise Hub team via 0151 706 8113 or get in touch with your Local Growth Hub at Invest Sefton via 0151 934 3452.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Are you using the Business Model Canvas? Your guide to the ULTIMATE business planning tool

The dreaded “business plan” has become a sticking point for many entrepreneurs. But the truth is it’s a vital document which you simply can’t afford to overlook. Certain stakeholders, including banks and investors, may require to see your business plan. But what’s more than that, it will act as a handbook to your business making sure that you stay on track and hit those targets!

But here’s the good news, your business plan needn’t be a long and daunting document. Introducing our new favourite business planning tool… the Business Model Canvas!

What is the Business Model Canvas?

Developed by Stategyzer, the Business Model Canvas (or BMC) is a simple strategic management tool, providing a snapshot of your business plan. It is a visual chart of nine essential building blocks which describe how your business will create, deliver and capture value. This includes:

  • Value propositions – what products and/ or services do you offer which add value to your customer segments?
  •  Customer segments – who are the groups of people, or organisations, who will benefit from your value proposition?
  • Channels – how will your value proposition be delivered to your customer segments? i.e. communication, distribution, and sales channels.  
  • Customer relationships – what kind of relationship will you develop with your customer segments and how will this be maintained?
  • Revenue streams – how will your business create value? This is the result of your value proposition being successfully offered to a customer segment, at a price they are willing to pay.
  • Key resources – what are the most important assets needed to deliver on the above?
  • Key activities – what are the core activities needed for your business to perform well?
  • Key partners – who are the partners and suppliers that bring in external resources?
  • Cost structure – what are the costs involved in operating your business?

Why use the Business Model Canvas?

As a highly visual document, the BMC provides a simple snapshot of your business which can easily be referred to in the day-to-day running of your business. This will help you to make strategic and focused decisions on a daily basis.
What’s more, the BMC also helps you to step back from your business and think outside of the box, always keeping your customer in mind. This will help you to get, keep and grow customers. Remember, your value proposition is not about your idea or product, it’s about solving a need or problem for your customer. This mantra should be at the centre of your business planning and the BMC will help you to focus on this.

How can I get started?

Getting started with your BMC is simple. All you need is a copy of the BMC template and your business idea. Starting with your value proposition, you can build out your customer journey following the nine key steps and develop your core business activities around this.
You will then be left with a living and breathing document, which can grow and develop alongside your business. You can download some great free resources from

If you would like more advice on running your business in its first year of trade, we can offer you free support under the Enterprise Hub ‘Boost Your New Business’ programme. Find out about upcoming sessions here:

You can also contact or 0151 706 8113 for an informal chat. 

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Thinking of starting your own business? Your 5 BIG questions answered…

“I’ve got this idea, but I don’t know where to start…”. Talking about your business ideas out loud for the first time can be very daunting. There are so many questions you want to ask and so much information to unpick.

Jo Mountfort, our business advisor extraordinaire, has worked in the start-up business arena for over a decade. During this time, she has worked with hundreds of clients, supporting them to organise their thoughts and develop their business ideas. We asked her to tell us some of the top questions she’s asked on a daily basis. Here’s what she had to say…

1. “I’ve got this idea, but I don’t know where to start...”

This is probably one of the most common things that clients say to me when we have our first face to face or telephone chat. My response: you’ve taken the first step! Speaking to someone impartial about your idea is really important. Nobody is going to laugh at you. What we will do is help you break it down bit by bit to see if it could work. We can offer 1-2-1 support and a range of training and networking courses to get you thinking.

2. “Do I have to write a business plan?”

No, is the short answer, but you really should! Certain establishments may require to see one – banks, funders etc. But more than that, taking the time out to plan something that could potentially be the biggest step of your life is a no-brainer! A business plan is your handbook to business and is a hugely useful tool. In the start-up research stage it acts as a checklist to all the things you need to think about. There are many different formats that a business plan can take so don’t shy away. The truth is, if you’ve been thinking this idea through then you’ve already started the business plan in your head.

3. “Is there any funding available to help me start?”

Possibly. There are some pots of money available to new businesses but they are often subject to credit and other checks. Some people’s circumstances can make them eligible for financial support but this is something your advisor can support you with. As advisors, we know what funders are looking for so we can do all the correct prep work with you before you submit applications.

4. “I’m going to undercut my competition when I first start-up.”

Don’t do it! Take the time to think about your pricing structure. Don’t just presume that the best way to get customers is have a price cheaper than your competition. Of course, some customers will factor price into their buying habits but not all will. Quality and standard of service will go a long way…

5. “Do you think it’s a good idea?”

This is a really difficult question to answer and it’s not up to us to judge what’s ‘good’ or not. But honestly, I think it’s always down to the individual. You can have two people running exactly the same type of business but running them very differently. Our job is to encourage you to research and think objectively about your idea to help you come to your own conclusion.

Our support is offered via the Enterprise Hub programme which is designed to help explore ideas and develop enterprise skills. We’ve seen and heard it all. So don’t be shy, get in touch and let’s start talking about your business! Or, if you’ve got a friend or a family member who could benefit from an initial chat, tell them to get in touch!

Contact or call 0151 706 8113 for an informal chat.

Monday, 11 June 2018

David is Training Dogs to be Super with Positive Dog Training

David Carter is following his passion, working with dogs and offering positive dog training thanks to support from St Helens Chamber’s start-up team and the Enterprise Hub.
From a young age David grew up with a family dog in the home and always had a passion for training and caring for his canine companions. After the death of their first family dog, David’s family started adopting rescue dogs, all of which David took to training and behaved exceptionally.

After the passing of one of their rescue dogs, David decided to get a puppy, Flash, so he could have the challenge of training a dog from birth and demonstrate what you can achieve using only positive training methods.
Prior to starting his own business David worked in an administration role, climbing further up the managerial ladder. He realised he wanted a job that made him feel a sense of achievement, so began the journey of setting up his own business.
David explained: “I first approached the Chamber with the hope of getting some sort of funding and advice to get the ball rolling.
“Starting a new business, I didn’t know what I was getting into, so the most important thing for me was to understand the business side. I’d never done my own taxes and didn’t know how to get started on that.
 “I understood how to realistically make a business plan, but the support from the Chamber opened my eyes to a depth of it that I didn’t see.
“There are things you don’t know about until you look into it in a certain way. The support helped me to look down the right avenues and investigate the right things so that I could find an accountant and a bookkeeper who could give me advice.
“When it came to the specifics of working with dogs the Chamber weren’t necessarily the right people to talk to, but when it came to running the business, liability insurance and VAT rates, they really opened up my eyes as to how much more work goes into the process.”
David was invited in to meet with a dedicated business start-up adviser to discuss his business plan and attended a series of free start-up Workshops, designed to teach him the tools for becoming self-employed.
“The guidance I received from my start up adviser Steve was really useful. He helped me to narrow my view from this scatter brain idea of ‘I could do this and this’ to break it down and say ‘yes, you could do that, but is it productive in the short term, if you focus on x you can cover all your bases – marketing, income, expenditure. 
“He really helped me to align my goals and come up with a realistic frame so we could start at A and work to Z instead of the other way around.”
Superdogs offers a range of Dog Training classes including one-to-one sessions, residential training and group sessions, as well as training the dogs, Superdogs also sells equipment such as leads and balls.
When he initially visited the Chamber, David went in with some very ambitious plans of opening a dog hotel, spa and restaurant with a menu for humans and a separate menu for their canine friends.
“When I first met Steve the first thing I said was ‘I think I need North of one million pounds’ and he just laughed. Looking back now, I would too.
“I didn’t know what the Chamber was about, I just told him this is my ultimate goal and what I want and he helped me to narrow down that 25 year goal and make it into a more realistic 5 year goal.
“Within the first year Superdogs has quickly surpassed what I thought we’d achieve, I’ve gone from having no intention of taking on staff to now tripling the size of the business with two extra staff members.
“We have recently expanded into Warrington and the Wirral, as that is where one of my new trainers is based. We are tackling the North West first and then hopefully one day we can take on the world. I’m looking to rent or purchase a field so we can have our own space for outdoor classes.
“I have also been working closely with No More Kennels a luxury dog spa and hotel in Warrington where we deliver some of our group sessions. They have a really great set up with an indoor AstroTurf that we use to train the dogs.”
David has aspirations to grow the business over the next few days with the hope of one day owning his own premises and spa. He also plans on training a team of show Superdogs to educate people about traditional dog training methods.
St Helens Chamber is part of Enterprise Hub, the enterprise gateway for business start-up support in Merseyside.  Offering expert advice and support to anyone thinking about starting a business including help to:

  • Understand the process of starting a business
  • Research a business idea
  • Build a comprehensive business plan
  • Develop a marketing plan
  • Create financial forecasts to understand the costs of running your  business and potential income
  • Identify sources of finance to get started

Enterprise Hub is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and offered FREE to residents of the Liverpool City Region. For more information on how to get support to start your business call 0151 706 8113 or email 

Friday, 8 June 2018

Sean is Creating a Buzz in Sefton with his new Radio Station Bliss Radio

Have you ever thought about starting something as exciting as a radio station? For local entrepreneur Sean Saunders, that is exactly what he is doing.

Crosby-based Sean has been doing radio for over twenty years, from hospital radio, to community radio, working his way up the radio hierarchy.  In recent years, local radio stations have ceased to exist as they once did, and so Sean had an idea… why not start his own station?

After weeks of leafleting and chatting to people in the street, it became clear that interest in having a radio station that covered the Crosby and Waterloo areas was high. ‘There’s a big gap between Liverpool and Southport’, according to Sean and market research showed his idea was a solid one.

With the support to back up his ideas, Sean approached the ERDF-funded Enterprise Hub Project at Alt Valley Community Trust. There, he learned how to do the business planning and financial forecasting aspects of his new venture, Bliss Radio, with the help of John Mathias, business advisor at AVCT.

From here, Bliss Radio has snowballed, and gained its own momentum. Mark Snaylam, a financial consultant, joined the team to take on marketing and sales, and a loyal following has already gathered, eagerly awaiting the launch date of the new radio station. ‘You can only do the radio after you have the listeners’, said Sean, and that is exactly what they have been doing over the past few months, drumming up support through social media, leafleting, relentless promotion, and connections with other local names – Ricky Tomlinson is a big supporter of the project, too!

Bliss Radio will see an eclectic variety of music and shows, with presenters such as former Radio City DJs Paul Leckie and Greg Crawford, ex-Juice FM DJ Denny Dowd, and Paul Bleasdale, who previously DJ’ed for Cream. There will also be opportunities such as Bliss Radio School, giving people a chance to gain experience and learn radio skills, and Bliss Discos, which would see the Bliss team providing music at different events around the city.
Sean and the rest of Bliss Radio have recently received the brilliant news that they have won £25,000 in funding through BFS (Bibby Financial Services), which John from AVCT pointed them in the direction of. From here, they have acquired new premises in Crosby Village in a new development of units, a contract with DAB operators, and licencing – it’s not long now until Bliss Radio is on the airwaves, covering the North West and North Wales!

‘It’s about using different experiences and bringing them together to make it work’, said Sean. Bliss Radio’s journey shows that with determination and passion, ideas can become reality.

If like Sean you have a business idea you would like to get off the ground with help from Enterprise Hub, get in touch via 0151 706 8113 or

Thursday, 7 June 2018

David is Setting Himself Clear Goals for Business Venture 'Enjoy Football'

After 30 years of working in the law industry, David hit a brick wall. His career was at a standstill, the industry was changing and he saw no progression.

Deciding that his job was no longer giving him the satisfaction it once had, he made the decision to hand in his notice. After the Christmas break, he began to make lists of things to do and they all pointed back to one thing, football coaching.

David explains: “I’d toyed with the idea of doing this over the years, but never had the guts to do it. When I made the big decision to quit my job, I made lists and everything was pointing back to that one thing.

“What do I enjoy doing? What do I want to get paid to do? It was all pointing back to football coaching.”

After researching the industry and deciding he wanted to start his own business, David rang the St Helens Chamber Business Start Up support team, which is part of the Enterprise Hub.

David was invited in to meet with a dedicated business Start Up adviser to discuss his business plan and attended a series of free Start Up Workshops, designed to teach him the tools for becoming self-employed.

David said: “The support from the Business Start Up team helped me immensely. I was guided through every step of my business plan.

“The backup I got from the 4 workshops was fantastic. I learnt an awful lot. If you lay down an idea someone will tell you that it’s a great idea or politely say ‘what are you talking about?’

“Steve has been absolutely fantastic at guiding me throughout, he’s pushed me in the right direction making sure that I think through my ideas and I’m not dreaming of the unachievable.

In just a few months, David was ready to launch his business ‘Enjoy Football’, which has now been trading for almost one year.

Enjoy Football provides football coaching for children as young as three, up to adults of 74, with its range of football, futsal and walking football sessions.

Recently David has worked with Wargrave Big Local on a project to encourage residents to get involved with walking football, which showed great success.

David added: “I’m very interested in the health and wellbeing side of things and bringing the sessions to people. Where I can, I’ll come to people and find locations to deliver sessions near them.

“For me to get to six months was brilliant, now I’m almost at 12 months and I know that we’ll get there. Then I’ll set a new goal, something realistic that I’ll enjoy working towards”.

St Helens Chamber is part of Enterprise Hub, the enterprise gateway for business start-up support in Merseyside.  Offering expert advice and support to anyone thinking about starting a business including help to:

  • Understand the process of starting a business
  • Research a business idea
  • Build a comprehensive business plan
  • Develop a marketing plan
  • Create financial forecasts to understand the costs of running your  business and potential income
  • Identify sources of finance to get started

Enterprise Hub is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. For more information about the support available contact our team on 0151 706 8113.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

The start-up performance troupe who are defying gravity

Gravity Over Distance Ltd is a dynamic wall-trampolining performance troupe, offering a unique advertising opportunity to corporate clients.

If you’re not familiar with the sport, wall-trampolining involves athletes jumping off a platform onto a trampoline using their backs to bounce and run up the side of company’s mobile stage, along with a performance of flips, tricks, and acrobatics for good measure.

The act is performed by Gravity Over Distance’s trio of sportsmen-turned-entrepreneurs: Josua, Martin and Robert.

Having worked as professional athletes for many years (Martin and Robert as professional free runners and parkour athletes, and Josua as a professional slacklining athlete), all three partners wanted to put their passions into developing a successful business. This experience gave the team a unique insight into what audience’s want to see and the know-how to create a performance with maximum impact for their clients.

In the first year of business Josua explained that ‘things were starting slowly as the whole idea needed to be developed. First we bought the required material to build our stage set-up: a mobile wall-trampolining stage. After that we worked on our business plan to figure out exactly what we wanted to do and what everybody was thinking.’

Having used the business as the basis for his bachelor thesis Joshua carried out a quantitative online questionnaire with a sample of 115 people. Using this research helped the team to establish their pricing and to understand their customer, getting the business off to a confident start.

When asked how he felt the business was going, Josua said ‘we are proud of what we have achieved so far, but we are in the middle of our biggest and hardest challenge right now: getting our company established in the market.’

The team decided to attend Enterprise Hub’s Boost Your New Business course to see how they could take their business to the next level.

Boost Your New Business provided the opportunity for the team to take some time out from the day-to-day running of their business and assess where their business was at by conducting a simple review and building a strategic marketing and action plan.

When asked about the support they received through Enterprise Hub, Josua commented: ‘The course really helped us to rethink some of our service offerings. When we applied the Business Model Canvas to our company we were able to see whether our service offering had changed since launch and also to make sure that we were all on the same page as business partners.’

Josua and the team are feeling incredibly positive and excited for the future of their venture. He added: ‘One quote stood out to us: “Don’t give up, when success is waiting around the corner”. With focus, persistence and commitment nothing can stop us.’

Any last thoughts? ‘We have some great things lined up at the moment, which could take our business to the next level. We will tell you more about it when they are confirmed!’

Watch this space… You can find out more about Gravity Over Distance by visiting or contact the team at

Hitting the 40 Milestone Gave Emma the Impetus to Change Career

Former DWP worker Emma Hulse has traded in her desk job, opening up her own sandwich and deli shop, Market Street Deli in Earlstown, thanks to business start-up support from St Helens Chamber and Enterprise Hub.

Emma explained: “I had been working for the DWP for about 14 years but I wasn’t happy; it wasn’t the job I wanted to do and working for myself is something I’d always dreamed of.

“I’d just turned 40 and I thought ‘it’s now or never’ if I wanted to do something that makes me happy, so I jumped at the opportunity.”

In her previous DWP role Emma had referred many clients to the St Helens Chamber Business Start-up Team, so when taking the leap of faith for herself, she turned to the Chamber for support.

Emma met with a dedicated Business Start Up Adviser to discuss her business plan and also attended a series of free start up workshops, equipping her with the tools she needed to become self-employed.

Emma commented: “I enjoyed the workshops and enjoyed the different styles of them. It really does get you from A to B.

“You’re still on your own and doing your own thing, but they definitely help to point you in the right direction. I don’t think I would have been able to do it without the workshops.”

The Understanding Enterprise workshops cover the importance of business planning, how to market your business and how to manage your money and cashflow.

Emma added: “The financial forecasting sessions really helped. I had no experience in the financial side, but it wasn’t as scary as I thought.
“My Adviser Cath prepared me for every eventuality, when she thought I was maybe dreaming she kept me grounded and pointed me in the right direction.”

Emma plans on expanding on her current set up, offering corporate and outdoor catering and setting up an outdoor seating area in the summer attracting customers for ice creams.

St Helens Chamber is part of Enterprise Hub, the enterprise gateway for business start-up support in Merseyside.  Offering expert advice and support to anyone thinking about starting a business including help to:

  • Understand the process of starting a business
  • Research a business idea
  • Build a comprehensive business plan
  • Develop a marketing plan
  • Create financial forecasts to understand the costs of running your  business and potential income
  • Identify sources of finance to get started

Enterprise Hub is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. For more information about the support available from St Helens Chamber to start a business, call 0845 340 9980, email, or visit