Friday 27th November
The Growth Hub have helped a small strategy and fundraising consultancy with funding, mentoring, digital and business growth support. Founded in 2008 and based in the Jewellery Quarter, Oaks Consultancy Ltd help socially minded organisations across sport, education, the third sector, social housing, and business. They help with: strategy – helping organisations to achieve their vision, mission, purpose and objectives; income generation planning – looking at grants and diverse fundraising strategies; and implementation – actively going out and raising money for clients as an extension of their team on an ongoing basis.
At the beginning of the year, Oaks had ambitious plans for growth, Rahul Bissoonauth, Director of Business Development, explained “We were excited about our potential in 2020. Back in February we had a clear budget for what we were planning to do this year and a big part of that was to grow.” However, like many businesses, COVID-19 slowed down their business growth plans, “obviously, the coronavirus pandemic had an immediate impact so we had to re-budget and re-forecast for this year so we haven’t been able to necessarily grow but we have been able to maintain”.
Additionally, Oaks Consultancy Ltd wanted to adapt how they interact with clients and to offer more digital services, Rahul said: “as part of our growth ambitions, we have been looking for a few years at how we could develop digital products that will help us to diversify our offer, deliver at a greater scale and hopefully grow in future years.”
The financial implications of the coronavirus had a direct impact on the consultancy’s ability to invest in growth and action these digital services. Seeking support, Oaks approached the Growth Hub, where Rahul was put into contact with Christine Hancock, a specialist Growth and Resilience Account Manager, “Christine provided a really great introduction to everything the Growth Hub could do to help our business. We felt there was so much support available and it all seemed to align well to the areas where we needed it most”.
Primarily, Oaks was assisted with the application for the Pivot and Prosper grant, Rahul explained: “we initially spoke to the Growth Hub about opportunities for funding and investment to support us to grow, and were pointed towards the Pivot and Prosper grant as it was a good fit for our ambitions.” The GBSLEP’s funding was aimed at organisations who are seeking to accelerate their recovery from COVID-19 by embracing new business models, entering new markets, or changing the way they work.
The business was successful in receiving the grant and are launching an online platform in January, with the funding received from the Pivot and Prosper scheme. “Using the Pivot and Prosper grant, we are in the process of launching our digital platform, thanks to the investment from the Growth Hub”. Rahul (Director of Business Development, Oaks Consultancy Ltd) states: “we are effectively going to deliver a platform in January which will be free to access at the point of launch for socially-minded organisations of different shapes and sizes. Charities, sports clubs, schools and any other community organisation will be able to benefit from fundraising and income generation support, and hopefully it will help them to bounce back from the impact of the pandemic.”
Christine provided further assistance by connecting Oaks Consultancy Ltd to the programmes provided by our partners. Rahul said: “we are working with some of the referrals that were made by the Growth Hub team. Low Carbon SMEs is one of them, and we are embarking on an audit of our business’ carbon performance to understand what green action we can take as a business”. Low Carbon SMEs is a project delivered by Aston University, seeking to assist SMEs with the reduction of their energy use, you can find out more here.
Oaks Consultancy Ltd were referred to another programme held by Aston University, in partnership with the Growth Hub, called Mentoring for Growth: “we are also taking up a referral to the high-level mentoring scheme via Aston University to gain an external perspective of our business and check and challenge our growth plans” said Rahul, Director of Business Development. Mentoring for Growth gives ambitious business leaders the opportunity to be mentored by senior personnel from some of the UK’s most productive companies. Find out what the programme offers here.
Oaks Consultancy Ltd were also helped with their goal of growing internationally, “we are also now in conversation with the Department for International Trade, trying to understand how they can support us to grow our international work.” DIT is one of our partners and their global network helps businesses to enter new markets and grow their international sales – more information here.
Other solutions and programmes surrounding business growth and digital support were also discussed with Rahul and he is very impressed with all that the Growth Hub has to offer. He stated: “when Christine and I spoke, I described five or six areas that are our main business needs and there seems to be a solution or an offer of support for all of them. The support ticked all of the boxes.”
Oaks Consultancy Ltd has benefited from the Growth Hub’s extensive network and the programmes that we have to offer, as Rahul said: “the introductions that we’ve had so far have been great and the funding that we’ve had from the Pivot and Prosper scheme has been brilliant, it has really been the only investment in our growth this year.”
Rahul spoke highly of the service that he received from Christine, saying: “my conversation with Christine was great! She got to know our business, asked all the right questions, and followed up almost instantly without overwhelming me and the team as we are a small business. So, I just wanted to say thanks Christine for the initial support, and we are looking forward to see what impact it has on us in the next 12 months and beyond.”
Speaking on her experience in working with Oaks, Christine Hancock, GBSLEP Growth Hub Account Manager, said: "It has been great to support Oaks Consultancy with their growth plans and fantastic to see how the Pivot & Proper grant is helping them to adapt and grow despite the current challenges. It’s been a pleasure to help them access support from a variety of Growth Hub partners and I am particularly excited by potential international opportunities. I look forward to continuing to work with them in the future."
With the help of the Growth Hub, Oaks Consultancy Ltd are on the right path of achieving their goals of becoming more digital and growing their organisation. Your business can also benefit from the broad support on offer from the Growth Hub and our partners. Make sure you contact our team of experts to expand your business and to reach your professional goals.