Businesses have spoken of the vital support provided by Suffolk enterprise agency Menta to help them on the road to success.
As the organisation celebrates its 30th anniversary, the Bury Free Press spoke to three businesses whose future was secured thanks to Menta’s backing.
When Beverley Webb started laying the foundations to launch New Horizons Daycare, in Mildenhall, last year, she admits she didn’t know where to start.
With Menta’s encouragement, she won a start-up grant from Forest Heath District Council to buy resources, went on training courses and received a wealth of advice.
Mrs Webb said: “They gave me contact details, I went on a lot of courses and they provide lots of advice – they helped me with spreadsheets, offered cash flow forecasts, set-up costs and they were always there if I needed them.
“If I had a stumble, they were always there to encourage me to carry on and where to go next.
“Even going on the training courses, you’re talking to like- minded people and it gives you that encouragement. I know I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”
Catering for 0 to 12-year-olds with a nursery, breakfast, after-school and holiday clubs, New Horizons has blossomed since starting in December with 51 children on the roll and six members of staff.
Mrs Webb is looking to take on two apprentices and will advertise for another full time member of staff.
She added: “We knew there was a need in Mildenhall but I didn’t realise we were going to take off quite as quickly as we have done.”
AMS (Outsourcing) Services Ltd, in Needham Market, which provides secretariat services and corporate events, started about 15 years ago with support from Menta.
Leslie-Ann Giovnilli started the business herself in November 1999 and it has grown with two directors, two event staff, one virtual administrator and an intern.
She said: “From the very beginning Menta were the ones that gave us all the free advice and training needed to set up.
“We didn’t know they existed and when we found them we didn’t know how we would have managed without them.
“Their advice was don’t do it all yourself – take advice from people, talk to people, don’t think your business stands and falls on the knowledge you have yourself. Basically they did make you think you weren’t on your own.”
Explaining what AMS offers, she said: “We’re an outsourcing provider so basically we run companies virtually. To use a charity for example where you have a volunteer board so there’s no employees at all. Instead, they employ my company and we do everything – all their finance, banking, marketing, sales, websites.”
When jeweller Tony Strowger returned to Haverhill after working in America, he secured a base at Menta’s business units in Hollands Road.
He remembers: “Being a low cost start-up, you didn’t have to pay thousands of pounds for rent. You could get a unit which you could work from to try to establish yourself.”
Soon he got a retail spot in Haverhill’s High Street and still had his workshop at Menta.
As a craftsman, Mr Strowger found the agency’s administrative help invaluable.
He said: “You had a lady on reception who did your post, any franking you didn’t have to worry about that and there was a room there to do the photocopying.”
They also offered advice when he moved to Bury St Edmunds in March with his shop Jewellery by Tony Strowger, in St John’s Street.
He said: “Things are going in the right direction because I make bespoke work, in Bury we’ve got a bigger audience once people get to know what I do more.”
For more details about Menta’s services, contact its headquarters, in Eastern Way, Bury St Edmunds, on 01284 760206.