At Virgin StartUp we're proud to support a really wide range of businesses across many industries and areas. This week's StartUp of the Week is Hampshire-based GlobeUs Training, a business providing training and certification across a range of sectors. Let's find out more!
Explain your business in thirty seconds or less
We are a training provider who offer a variety of qualifications across two main areas of delivery - apprenticeships and compliance courses. Our apprenticeships run through several sectors, with particular focus on childcare and hospitality. We also offer many compliance qualifications from Personal Licences and related local authority applications through to Safeguarding, First Aid, and much more.
Where are you based and why is it a good location for your business?
GlobeUs Training is based in Gosport, Hampshire. We chose this location partially on advice from our start and grow mentor, and because we required a central location that also gave us the ability to grow, all at a competitive price. We use a Basepoint Business Centre which has proven perfect for our requirements - it is a facilitated building with access to meeting rooms, IT facilities and ongoing support. GlobeUs cover the whole of the south coast, so location has been vital in allowing us to access all areas cost-effectively while maintaining a stable base.
How did you come up with the idea?
Having worked for one of the largest training providers in the country, we were fortunate to have gained many experiences. However, it was becoming clear to us that our approach to training was moving in a different direction from theirs. Rather than going for a quantity approach, we decided to start GlobeUs Training and go back to basics. Putting learners and clients at the forefront of everything we do has allowed us to build a reputation built on quality, which in turn has driven success, which we believe is stronger and more sustainable.
What stage was your business at when you applied for the Start Up Loan?
The business was brand new and we had only created a business plan at the point we applied for the start-up loan. We were still working at our previous employers when everything started happening for us.
How have you used it to grow your business?
We initially used the loan to source an office, buy necessary equipment to deliver our services, and most importantly implement a marketing strategy, which included creating a website. The hardest aspect for us wasn’t knowing how to deliver our services but trying to raise awareness so potential customers and clients knew we were there. From a standing start this was very challenging, and the loan and subsequent income has been vital in increasing our profile.
Who helped you get a loan from Virgin StartUp?
We have been fortunate to have two mentors - Julie Easterbrook from Enterprise First and Andrew Telling, a local business owner, through Virgin. From an initial meeting over a coffee, through to devising a business plan, applying for the loan and then ongoing support and guidance, Julie was instrumental in supporting us to get off the ground. There is no doubt that without Julie's support, Globeus would not be here today. There is a saying “You don’t know what you don’t know”, and this is never more true than starting a business for the first time. Andrew and Julie’s experience and knowledge allowed us to identify areas of running a business that we had no idea about. They helped us avoid pitfalls and spend money on things that were not necessary. Even as we become more established, they both continue to support us and give us advice. It is great to have them as a sounding board, to give us feedback and ultimately the confidence to keep driving forward.
Biggest achievement so far?
We have been incredibly fortunate to have a number of successes - however, two in particular stand out.
In February we were Highly Commended in the Portsmouth News Business Excellence Awards, winning a fantastic trophy and getting some great media coverage.
We have also recently been awarded a direct contract through the Department of Education for Apprenticeship delivery. It has taken a huge amount of work to complete the due diligence and be able to demonstrate the capacity and capability. As a start-up we are incredibly proud to have the structure in place to such a degree that we have even been considered for funding.
What’s next for your business?
Globeus is growing exponentially, and as one funding stream falls into place, another door opens. We have broken our overall strategic plan into two areas – Government-funded training and commercial income. For our funded delivery, we have recently signed a contract expanding our delivery over the next year by nearly 150%. Excitingly this is also across additional sectors, which in turn opens the door to further increases in the future. We are also about to launch across a different pathway supporting non-apprenticeship delivery, which adds further capacity to our offer.
Commercially we are already covering the South - however, we have been planning the launch of certain qualifications nationally. Personal Licence, for example, has gone from a single venue to everywhere between Bristol and Brighton in less than a year. With this in mind we intend to have full coverage of England by the end of 2017. Many of our courses are also available online and with a recently relaunched website and more streamlined experience for customers we are seeing huge increases in activity and sales. This is an area that complements our overall delivery and is boosting our ability to launch nationwide.
In a nutshell, it is incredibly exciting and we are looking forward to the future!
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