Discover how Ashgarth Engineering benefited from taking part in a support programme designed to help manufacturing and engineering businesses spot opportunities, grow and develop.
Following redundancy, Niall Ash and Paul Westgarth decided to use their wealth of experience in producing high quality CNC machined components to set up Ashgarth Engineering.
Established in 2017, Ashgarth Engineering offers a subcontract engineering service to its customers, specialising in the supply of high-volume precision machined components. The business, which is based in Consett, now employs five staff.
Following a visit from one of the Durham Business Opportunities Programme* (DBOP) business engagement officer Michael Harriott, the company decided to attend EMCON, an annual exhibition organised by the Engineering and Manufacturing Network.
Through the Incubator Zone strand of the DBOP support offer, a small financial contribution gave the fledgling company a stand at the event, as well as access to professional design and printing services, which produced a suite of marketing materials to be used at EMCON and future exhibitions.
Commenting on the service Niall said: “This support was good value for money as we don’t have the in-house expertise to produce marketing materials and we can re-use them when required.”
Michael also worked with Ashgarth’s partners to look at future growth of the business, and it became clear that the company needed to find a way of funding new machinery. They were signposted to Sunderland University’s ERDF-funded SAM Project (Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing), the aim of which is to support product, process and technology developments within the SME manufacturing base.
An application for funding from the SAM Project was successful and the company received a financial contribution of £35,000 towards the purchase of a new CNC machine. This helped to sustain business growth and allowed the company to bring in two new employees.
Niall also commented on the benefits of participating in EMCON, which he says helped to increase the profile of the company and raise brand awareness.
Ashgarth Engineering continues to grow, attracting a wide range of customers from across the UK spanning a variety of sectors. The company is winning more work and has a couple of larger contracts in the pipeline for the beginning of 2020.
Commenting on the experience of working with Business Durham and DBOP Niall said: “Business Durham do a good job. They are proactive in making contact with you as a newly formed company on their patch. The challenge for new start-ups is making the time to meet with your advisor – but do it. Make the investment as it pays dividends in the long run.”
*The Durham Business Opportunities Programme is a six-year programme for SMEs running up until November 2022, helping County Durham businesses spot opportunities for sustainable growth. It is funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered by Business Durham, the business support service for Durham County Council, helping to deliver more and better jobs and a strong competitive economy.