Victoria Matthews is the Scale up Adviser for Business West, her role is to deliver the Scale up Coaching grant programme and the High Impact Scale up Coaching Grant programme. She also helps businesses across the West of England realise their growth potential by providing advice and grant funding to aid their growth.
Tell us about your role as Scale up Adviser
A typical day for me can consist of anything from meeting a business owner looking to take their company to the next level and signposting them to the right support, to holding business clinics helping identify the free growth support that’s right for entrepreneurs, or visiting funky new co-working spaces and identifying partnering opportunities for future collaboration.
My favourite part of the job are the free one-to-ones with entrepreneurs looking to scale up and grow their business. I also help businesses to access free support and apply for grants to accelerate their growth. So essentially, if you’re a business looking to grow, come and chat to me!
What size and type of businesses do you work with?
I work with a huge variety of businesses, from sole traders up to high growth companies with hundreds of employees. I work with businesses from across all sectors, ranging from dog walking businesses to high tech companies. Here at Business West we’re happy to help any business looking to start or grow!
Where do one-to-ones take place?
One-to-ones can take place wherever easiest for the business owner. I often hold sessions in the Engine Shed next to Temple Meads or here at Leigh Court (home to Business West) and in various co-working spaces across the region, such as the NatWest Accelerator Hub or Origin Workspace in Bristol. Ultimately, it depends where is easiest for the client, I’m more than happy to hold the meeting at their office.
Tell us more about your work with Origin?
I first met Origin at a Business West Chamber Breakfast Event. Rob, the Head of Origin, invited me along to visit the space to give an overview of the free business support available to his new start-up businesses based in the workspace. We set a date and Rob advertised the free one-to-one clinic internally. I met with 3 start-up businesses where I had a one-to-one with each of them, running through their business idea and signposting them to the relevant support to help them grow.
What happens at co-working space clinic?
Generally business owners book a slot with me in advance so I can prepare a bespoke session and do my research prior to the meeting, however at certain clinics business owners can just turn up on the day, so booking is not always a prerequisite. We’ll sit down over a coffee and I’ll ask about how they started their business, what their ambitions and challenges are, and what support they need to help them grow (if they know what it is they need, that is!)
I’ll explain all of the grants and free business support available and the benefits of each and how it can support growth, tailored to their business. After the session I’ll follow up with the relevant links and contact referral information to help get them on their way to growth.
Can you tell us about a business you’ve supported recently?
We’ve had loads of success stories so far! Appeal Digital are a marketing and design company based in Bristol. I first met Luke, the Managing Director, in June 2017 when we discussed his business and his strategy and ambitions. We were able to identify that by enlisting the help of a business coach, Luke and his business partner, Ben, would be able to accelerate their growth. Luke applied for an Enterprising West of England Scale Up Coaching Grant and was awarded £2,040 to invest in the sales training and business development support that he needed to help grow his business.
“The grant enabled us to bring a best-in-class sales trainer into the business for 1-to-1 guidance and support. This led to us doubling our revenue and we are now working to grow the team and further build capacity in the business. Without the scale up coaching grant we wouldn't have had the acceleration in growth that we have had. We've gone from two co-founders to a team of six in 12 months, hiring a new person every three months. I don't doubt that we would've got here eventually, but there would've been considerably more trial and error and mistakes”.
Sounds great! What is the first step for businesses looking to access support?
Business support and grants can be a minefield for those who have never accessed any before. This is where I come in; if you’re unsure of the support or grants available to you then please do get in touch with us for a free one-to-one session where we can chat about your business’s ambitions and signpost you to the relevant support and funding. It’s really easy to book a slot, just call us on 01275 376 233 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.