There are no limits to business growth for Peterlee based adult training provider Positive Futures after they attended a business support drop-in session led by the Durham Business Opportunities Programme* (DBOP).
Positive Futures is led by a team of three – Director Derek McNichol, Director Joy Selby and Director Andrew McHale. The company provides training to help people get back into work with access to training including BTEC’s, NVQ’s and apprenticeships. The company works with JobCentre Plus, The National Careers Service, colleges, local authorities and employers across the North East helping to upskill adults aged 19 and over so that they have the necessary skills and accreditations to move into employment.
The company started in 2016 after Director Derek McNichol came out of retirement. Derek was offered NVQ contract work from a local authority, he contacted fellow Director Joy Selby and the rest, as they say, is history. The company very quickly became successful achieving 100% pass rate across all vocational courses and 100% success rate into a positive progression that is employment, self-employment or further training.
Director Joy Selby said: “We became very successful, very quickly. So successful that we had to turn work away because we were unable to take on work for more than £100k each financial year without the additional accreditations needed in this field.”
Enter Guy Bashford Business Development Officer for the Durham Business Opportunities Programme. Joy, Derek and Andrew met with Guy to discuss how they could work around this clear barrier to business growth.
Guy said: “When I met with the team from Positive Futures it was clear that the company had so much potential for growth but were restricted by the £100k contract cap. Part of my role within DBOP is to help businesses overcome barriers to growth by helping identify barriers, providing opportunities to overcome them and signposting to other support organisations.”
Guy highlighted the forthcoming DBOP led business support drop-in session that was set to take place at Novus Business Centre in Peterlee with four other business support organisations to provide information about the different support available in one session.
Positive Futures met five different support organisations at the same time at the drop-in session including the Durham Business Opportunities Programme, North East Fund, Durham Digital Drive, North East Business Support Fund (NBSL) and The Department for International Trade.
One of those meetings was with Andrew Gibson from the North East Fund.
Andrew said: “After Guy introduced Positive Futures via the drop-in session, I recommended the North East Growth Fund and worked with the team to ensure that they had the best possible chance of securing the funds they needed to progress their business.”
Director Derek McNichol added: “The fund has provided us with the financial capital we need gain the additional accreditations to take on more work, improve our IT infrastructure, procure marketing support, a CRM system and attain Cyber Security Essentials accreditation to future proof our business as well as enabling our growth.”
Director Andrew McHale added: “The support we have received has been superb, Guy and Andrew have told us about a lot of things we were not aware of. Until you go to an event, have those conversations and see the difference that can be made in a matter of weeks you do not appreciate the support that is available for County Durham businesses.
It has changed us from a company who were unable to move forward, that potentially had no prospects, to a company that is looking to grow, recruit more people and strive for things that it never would have been able to achieve without all of the help and support we have been provided with.”
*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 economic development arm of Durham County Council.