Who Are Cool Ventures?
Cool Ventures was established in 2011. Directors Roger & Sue and their team specialise in providing businesses with the support they need to grow as well as consulting with start-ups to make sure they can get off the ground. I had a chat with Roger to find out more what they do.
So Roger, what do Cool Ventures do?
We provide advice, guidance and hands on assistance to owner managed start-up and High Growth businesses in Bath, Bristol and Gloucestershire. What that means is we provide general business advice to small and medium sized businesses. In addition we also deliver specialist Finance and IT advice, help with raising finance, and work with business owners to undertake Strategic Planning.
What did you do before setting up Cool Ventures?
Sue and I were both part of the local Business Link advisory service until 2011 when the government closed the service down. Prior to that I worked in IT for many years in various management roles, and in 2004, in conjunction with two other colleagues raised a seven figure sum to launch a new IT business. Sue is a Chartered Management Accountant, and prior to becoming a business advisor was Financial Controller for RAC Motoring Services.
What kind of people and businesses do you work with?
We work with business owners and would be business owners. We do not have any sector specialism and our clients include retail businesses, manufacturers, technology businesses and service companies amongst others. Many of our clients are start-ups or pre-starts and we enjoy seeing people we have worked with start their new business and watching it grow. For industry or skill specific issues, we have developed a network of specialists we can refer people to, including lawyers, accountants, social media specialists, health and safety advisers and many more.
Can you tell me about the workshops you are running on behalf of B&NES?
In 2013 we were delighted to have been selected by Bath and North East Somerset Council to deliver their Business Support and Advice service to people and businesses based in the council area. As well as the free one to one advice sessions, we run a number of no-cost workshops aimed at people at different stages in their business life cycle. Our Starting in Business workshop is aimed at individuals who have not yet started their business, and perhaps are only thinking about whether it is right for them. We look at the reasons for starting a business, or working for yourself, and how it might affect you and those around you. We also talk about practical things you need to know and do when you start your business, such as what insurances you need, what you can call your new business and who you need to tell. We also offer ‘Making it Happen’ workshops, which are aimed at new business owners and we cover the key areas that need to be done properly to ensure the business is successful. These include the financials, taxation and sales and marketing. Finally for the business with aspirations to grow, we have the Growth Strategy and Business Planning workshop where we introduce the tools we use when we are working with our high growth clients. Using these tools, the delegates learn how to develop a three year strategy and convert that into the specific actions they need to achieve during the next 12 months to help them reach their goals.
If you had one tip for someone setting up a business what would it be?
Make sure you know what you are selling and who you are going to sell to. Then make sure you have enough money to survive on until your business is established. I know that is three things, but they are all really important!
Could you tell me about a success story?
I would like to use two examples if I may:
We recently worked with a local Heating and Plumbing company to help them win a bid to provide maintenance and installation services for heating and hot water systems to a major Social Housing operator worth £10 million over the next 10 years. Having won the bid, we then helped them apply for (and win) a grant of around £28,000 from the LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) to help pay for the IT systems to enable them to deliver the service more efficiently.
We also worked with a local lady who was looking for funding to open a cafe in Weston. Whilst we were unable in that instance to access any funding directly, we were able to direct her onto a scheme that provided her with the support and funding she needed to get started. By the time you read this she should have opened her cafe in Weston.
What big things are you working on in 2014?
We are very much focussed on helping local businesses to start up and grow and we think that is big enough for now. Having said that, there are a few things we are working on which we will be announcing in the not too distant future once we have finalised the details – and of course made sure they are commercially viable!
If you’d like some more information about Cool Venture head over to their website – coolventures.co.uk – To see their up and coming FREE busines support workshops and sessions check out their listing – Cool Ventures Business Support