Consett-based precision machine components firm, Ashgarth Engineering, is just one of the many success stories that have benefited from local expertise and support.
Directors, Niall Ash and Paul Westgarth, have over 30 years’ experience in the sub-contracting industry, and started the firm in 2017 after the company they both worked for went into administration.
Niall said he’d been considering starting up his own business and had already done some of the groundwork: “When the company where Paul and I met went into administration, it seemed like the perfect time to strike out on our own – we knew the industry so well, and we had matching ideas about how the business should run in order to grow. But the one thing we knew we needed help with was funding to do this. The CNC Machines come with a big price tag, upwards of £100,000, and the high street banks were nervous about lending amounts like that to a start-up, despite our experience in the sector.”
They were introduced to James at TEDCO – a DABS deliver partner – who signposted them to the various loans and grants. These would support the purchase of two more machines to continue their growth.
Ashgarth went on to successfully apply for a number of business support grants, supported by James. Niall said: “When you’re embedded in the day to day work it’s hard to focus on the long-term opportunities for growth – you just want to get the components out of the door and make the customer happy. The support from James helped us focus on making the time to do this thoroughly – which was crucial because we knew the grants would be a game-changer for the business.”
The future is bright for Ashgarth. Paul and Niall want to hit a £1 million turnover and employ 10 people by year 5. To make this a reality, they are planning to seek further support from James and flesh out the long-term plan after lockdown lifts, as well as finding new premises and employing a shop floor manager and an office manager.
James Craft, TEDCO Enterprise and Development Manager, said:
“Niall and Paul are great examples of what can be achieved with the right planning, advice and guidance. Ashgarth has benefited from long-term business growth support, which resulted in me spending time working with them to grow the business. Over the last three years, we have further developed their plans which has enabled consistent and sustainable business growth. I can see the business reaching their targets for turnover and staff well ahead of schedule.”
If you would benefit from expert support to unlock the potential in your SME, then the DABS programme could help. Simply learn more about the DABS programme or register your application today!