Hoobynoo World was started in 2012 a month before the birth of my second child. I started the company on a self-employed basis with just £50.
I had the idea of creating character-based jewellery when creating little doodles for my son in a cafe and telling him stories about them to keep him occupied while we waited for food.
I used the £50 to have some sample products and packaging made. As a graphic designer I was able to create the illustrations for the products and all of the branding and packaging design myself.
What is the grant and how did you find out about it? What were the conditions of the match funding?
The grant was from the SUCCESS Fund and was available to specific regions; I found out about it at a women’s networking lunch.
The conditions of the funding were that you had to create at least one part-time new job and that you had to match whatever funding amount you applied for.
It was only available to start-ups and as I had just become a limited company I was eligible.
How did you apply? Talk about the process.
The initial application was online as an expression of interest, and was fairly straightforward. I met with a business adviser who offered me free advice and coached me through the application process.
I heard about this service also through the women’s networking group.
Once I have made it through the first stage I had to provide detailed financial information and a business plan; this was quite complex and I managed it with the assistance of my business adviser.
Had you searched widely for start-up/other grants before this?
I have to admit I hadn’t considered or looked for any grants, but when I heard about this one it seemed perfect for me. I was at a pivotal point were expansion was essential to allow the company to grow and the grant was for creative businesses. So it was the right grant for me.
Talk about the interaction between you and the grant provider.
The grant provider were extremely helpful, the kept me updated on my application and the process and because time was of the essence, they made sure that I was well informed of all of the deadlines I needed to meet.
Halfway through the process I had to have an operation and they were very accommodating, allowing me a short extension while I recovered.
What did you spend the money on and how has the money helped overall?
We spent the money together with our match funding was spent on manufacturing equipment and the renovation of an existing building in our garden, creating a studio for me to work in allowing me to manufacture my own personalised products and no longer outsource.
This meant I was able to turn products around quicker and sell for longer during the crucial christmas period. It has also allowed me to expand my product range.
What advice would you give to other small companies looking to get a grant?
I would suggest they look at all the information available and speak to their local council about any free advice or business advisers that may be available, there is a lot of help out there but it is not always easy to know where to look.
Do your research and make sure the grant is going to be the right fit for your business.
Further reading on receiving grants