Digital Growth Programme Case Studies

The Digital Growth Programme has supported over 1900 SMEs to embrace the digital world through investing in new technology, one to one advice and access to action planning workshop to learn about the latest digital marketing updates and trends. 

From 2016 to the end of Programme (March 2022), Leicester and Leicestershire businesses accessed funded digital support. More than £2.2m of funding has been invested into the programme which helped to unlock an additional £3.8m of private sector investment from SMEs which received support.

Take a look at our case studies to learn more about how digital marketing and technology has helped SMEs improve business performance and growth or download our latest celebrating success brochure

If you're an SME looking for Digital Technology advice and support you could be eligible to access help through the Chamber's Digital Upscaler or East Midlands Accelerator projects. More details can be found under Business Advice and Support


Video Analysis Solutions Steve Dawes Martin Meakins

EXCITING GROWTH IN STORE

Video Analysis Solutions 
Sector: Business Intelligence Systems
Support Accessed: £8,500 Grant and Specialist Advice


Video Analysis Solutions was founded in 2011 by Managing Director, Martin Meakins (pictured right). They design and manufacture leading-edge monitoring solutions by producing exceptionally clear imaging (up to 12 megapixels), which provides high-quality image-based evidence to prosecuting bodies.

Having established a widespread reputation for providing loss-prevention CCTV systems, founder, Martin Meakins felt that the business was running the risk of stagnating and missing emerging opportunities presented by the evolving needs of major retailers. Martin knew investment into new technologies was vital to take the business to the next level, open up new commercial channels and see growth. Learn how grant funding and adviser support through the Digital Growth Programme helped Martin achieve this.  

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Sue West - West HR

EMPLOYING A TRANSFORMATIONAL STRATEGY

West HR
Sector: Human Resources
Support Accessed: Strategic Workshops, £4,340 Grant and Specialist Advice


Established in 2010 by director Sue West, West Human Resources Consultancy provides a blend of HR consultancy and HR training services to businesses that typically don’t have a HR function in-house.

When the pandemic struck, the consultancy division at West HR accelerated significantly, with many businesses calling on Sue for guidance and support on dealing with delicate issues, such as redundancies and employment law. Sue also found that the training side of her business began to decline, as face-to-face engagements became restricted. 

Sue had identified the need to improve her digital presence, and specifically the user experience of their website. The challenges she faced included low website traffic, the absence of both a genuinely ‘live’ chat facility and a dynamic online booking system. Opportunities were potentially missed at a time when more and more potential clients were actively seeking a seamless online service. To mobilise West HR's plans Sue sought support from the Digital Growth Programme.

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Sue West - West HR

FIT FOR A DIGITAL FUTURE

Yoga Loughborough
Sector: Health and Wellbeing
Support Accessed: Strategic Workshops


Yoga Loughborough sought support from the Digital Growth Programme to drive digital transformation in the wake of online access becoming more and more essential, post-pandemic.

Owner, Reena Patel had several objectives in her sights. These included learning how to make improvements to her website to deliver a seamless online experience and broadening her digital marketing skills, to help maximise the effectiveness of social channels. The business’ website needed to be more robust to ensure it was taking payments properly and it also more user-friendly and visually, much slicker. Learn how Reena accessed support to adapt her business in line with a changing landscape.

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DB Automation

SECURING FURTHER GROWTH DOWN THE LINE

DB Automation
Sector: Manufacturing
Support Accessed: £9,500 Grant and Specialist Advice


DB Automation Ltd is an accredited manufacturer of special purpose manufacturing systems and automation solutions. With an ambitious growth strategy in place, including plans to expand into the US. Group Production Director, Nick Parker, identified a clear need to invest heavily in improving IT across the business.

Having heard about the Digital Growth Programme via social media, Nick worked closely with Technology Business Adviser, Prashant Gandabhai, who provided expert-led advice and support throughout the project. This included successfully securing Technology Grant Funding to upgrade the laptops and CAD software used by the firm’s team of specialist mechanical designers and integrating a powerful new server to transform digital infrastructure across the business.

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Kitking Dips Patel

MATCH FIT

Kitking
Sector: Wholesale Clothing
Support Accessed: £25,000 Grant and Specialist Advice


KitKing is one of the biggest teamwear distributors in the UK - supplying sports kits to local, national, and international clubs throughout the UK, Ireland, Europe and beyond since 1992.

As the business moved towards an e-commerce model it became increasingly apparent that its digital infrastructure was not keeping pace.

Sales Director and Co-founder, Dips Patel identified the need to integrate leading-edge technology into KitKing’s infrastructure. To achieve his ambition to digital transform the business, Dips engaged with the Digital Growth Programme to help him access essential funding and one to one advice to support his plans.

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KJN Tina Walsh

GALVANISING FOR GROWTH

KJN Automation
Sector: Manufacturing
Support Accessed: £9,000 Grant and Specialist Advice


Leicester-based KJN Automation Ltd supplies extruded aluminium profiles and associated components to world-leading manufacturers and blue-chip brands, across a wide range of industries including aerospace, automotive and medical.

They identified a number of challenges within their sales processes and knew to meet KJN’s objectives to increase online B2B sales they had to make transformational improvements to their digital infrastructure. With the support of the Digital Growth Programme grant and specialist advice, KJN were able to make major enhancements to their website and introduce a new online order system, enabling a completely tailored online ordering experience for their clients.

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Ashby Wines Claire and Lucas

TOPPING UP ON KNOW-HOW


Ashby Wines
Sector: Ecommerce
Support Accessed: Strategic Workshops


Ashby Wines is an online Wine Merchant based in Ashby de la Zouch. The business was born out of a late-night discussion among four friends in February 2021. Between them they brought together their English and South African heritage and nearly three decades of wine trade experience, to launch an online business, which specialises in supplying wines that are ‘less ordinary’.

The business had ambitious growth objectives and was looking to realise these at speed. With so much going on all at once, identifying and activating priority digital marketing initiatives was crucial for the business to maximise its early trading potential. Learn how they access Digital Marketing support to reach growth potential.

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Ashbywines website

MOVING WITH THE TIMES

NKR Freight
Sector: Logistics
Support Accessed: Strategic Workshops, £6,000 Grant and Specialist Advice

Prior to joining the Digital Growth Programme, NKR Freight Ltd was already on a successful expansion trajectory, but the leadership team were acutely aware that unless they transformed their digital know-how and infrastructure, they were in danger of being overlooked for major new contract opportunities.

NKR’s growth ambitions were not matched by their digital skillsets, and they knew to move forward they would need some support and advice.  Led by Operations Director, Asad Somani (centre), the business engaged with the programme in 2021. They have successfully rolled out a new client portal, CRM and enhanced their online presence with digital marketing. 

Learn how Asad and his team took full advantage of all of the support available which included one-to-one specialist advice, professional development through its workshop programme and financial support through the grant funding. 

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BlackFriars

RISING TO THE CHALLENGE

Blackfriars Bakery
Sector: Manufacturing/Confectionery
Support Accessed: Strategic Workshops, £2,456 Grant and Specialist Advice

Blackfriars Bakery is an award-winning, BRC accredited manufacturer of long shelf-life, ambient bakery snack products, including flapjacks and muffins. The business began life on a small bakery site based on Blackfriars Street in Leicester back in 1988 and over the years has expanded rapidly.

For some time, the management team had recognised the importance of boosting the business digital marketing know-how, to maximise growth opportunities and has also identified several weaknesses in their IT systems. Their IT system was outdated, occasionally causing delays in completing key administration functions, such as invoicing.

By accessing grant funding and advice through the Digital Growth Progamme, the business has elevated its digital capabilities. As a result of the support, they have seen have improved productivity and performance across the business. 

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Fleet Planner

DRIVING EXPANSION

Fleet Planner Compliance Solutions
Sector: Logistics/IT Development
Support Accessed: £17,500 Grant and Specialist Advice


Leicester-based fleet software and consulting firm, Fleet Planner Compliance Solutions set their sights on overtaking the competition, they engaged the Digital Growth Programme to help fuel their ambitions.

The business, headed by founder Michal Nawrocki had identified clear commercial opportunities to expand through a programme of research and development (R&D), which Michal saw as essential in ensuring the Fleet Planner stayed ahead of the curve and ensure sustainable growth.

The business was successfully awarded Technology Grant Funding, which was fundamental in helping Fleet Planner Solutions to realise their plans to grow. Initiatives made possible by the funding, included integrating new features to existing solutions and introducing several first-to-market new product innovations.

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Alert-iT

INVESTING TO SAVE

Alert-iT Care Alarms
Sector: Logistics/IT Development
Support Accessed: £13,500 Grant and Specialist Advice


Alert-iT Care Alarms have been members of the East Midlands Chamber for several years, the business engaged with the Digital Growth Programme to secure funding to support the creation of an app-based version of their epilepsy monitoring solution. The aim was to develop a seizure notification solution that could easily be accessed by users across a range of mobile devices, provide real-time activity records and enable them to safeguard the wellbeing of individuals in their care.

The Technology Grant awarded was invested in the research and development of the app and accelerate the process of new product development. It contributed to the cost of engaging an external developer to design the app for Apple and Android devices, funded ‘Firmware’ development and enabled the development of a prototype, to allow the business to speed up the process of tendering.

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Limelight beds

COMFORTABLY MORE USER FRIENDLY

Limelight Beds
Sector: Logistics/IT Development
Support Accessed: £23,000 Grant and Specialist Advice


As the business grew, founder and Managing Director, Aiyub Sidat (seated, right) implemented a digitisation strategy aimed at leveraging growth through innovation. A key area he wanted to focus on was to streamline Limelight’s online ordering system, which at the time still relied too heavily on manual data inputting by his sales team. His objectives were two-fold; reduce the time spent by his team processing orders and give customers an inside view of Limelight’s stock landscape, both current and projected, to provide them with more options, flexibility, and control, reducing the risk of their business migrating to an alternative supplier.

Learn how access to expert Digital Business Advice and the Technology Grant was pivotal in helping Aiyub to mobilise this strategy and successfully introduce leading-edge automation to Limelight’s ordering process.

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Keith Cook Training George Walton

LIGHTENING THE LOAD

Keith Cook Training
Sector: Construction Training and Development
Support Accessed: £3,200 Grant and Specialist Advice


The Digital Growth Programme was instrumental in helping Keith Cook Training Ltd to keep pace with digital communications and overhaul its connectivity infrastructure, to meet evolving client needs.

Having provided health and safety and accreditation training to major names in construction, waste management and heavy industry for over three decades, the business had become aware of the increasing demand for online training and remote access testing. There existing IT and telecommunications systems were standing in the way of progress though. Configuration of their services to their server also became a requirement for delivering Site Safety Plus (SSP) courses for example and their existing system was no longer fit for purpose.

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MBD Paul LongMAKING TECH INNOVATION A REALITY

Metro-Boulot-Dodo
Sector: Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
Support Accessed: Strategic Workshops, £5,272 Grant and Specialist Advice


MBD is a ‘Not for Profit’ organisation, focused on creating artistic experiences which have a positive social impact on the community. Established over two decades ago, MBD began life as a small theatre company that over the years began to integrate multi-media into performances. As something of an innovator in the sector, Paul identified that the creation of ‘Room Scale’ experiences using ‘walk-around’ VR technology, would be key to keeping MBD’s offering ahead of the curve. He knew that when it came to creating immersive visitor experiences, Research and Development (R&D), would be essential for fuelling the growth of the business and found the Digital Growth Programme invaluable in helping him achieve MBD’s ground-breaking ambitions.

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Nenette Chocolates

HUNGRY FOR KNOWLEDGE

Nenette Chocolates
Sector: Manufacturing/Confectionery
Support Accessed: Strategic Workshops


Having worked as a banker for 10 years and a chartered accountant for over two decades, in 2016 Nenette Scrivener decided to take the plunge and turn her passion for making exquisite chocolates into a full-time business. Early in her business journey, she attended a networking event run by the local council and it was here that one of the organisers recommended that she find out more about the Digital Growth Programme. Having signed up for several fully funded workshops, Nenette’s ‘digital confidence’ grew significantly and today, she continues to apply what she learnt to harness the power of digital to grow her business.

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Mowbray Leather Goods

A SIGNIFICANT PURSE TO INVEST

Mowbray Leather Goods
Sector: Manufacturing
Support Accessed: Strategic Workshops, £16,000 Grant and Specialist Advice


Mowbray Leather Goods Ltd is a business with quality craftsmanship at its heart. The firm is proud of its long-standing client base, which includes some of the world’s most discerning fashion houses and several high-end independent retailers. Like most manufacturers in the industry, importing plays a major role for Mowbray Leather Goods. They source most of their high-quality leather from Tuscany, where the best vegetable tanned leathers are produced. With the support from the Digital Growth Programme's digital business adviser and grant funding, they invested in leading-edge print technology. With this new technology, Minh and his team were able to elevate their prototyping service and offer prospective and current clients with almost limitless possibilities in terms of design and finish.

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Boy Wonder

GETTTING 'DIGITAL SMART'

Boy Wonder
Sector: Ecommerce
Support Accessed: Strategic Workshops


Boy Wonder is the brainchild of ethical fashion devotee, Ismay Mummery. As a successful blogger, Ismay was no stranger to the power of digital marketing. She knew how to write engaging online content, but once the business was in full swing, she knew that there were areas where a boost in technical knowledge would be a major advantage, especially when it came to taking the reins of her website. Ismay signed up for several workshops, to improve her understanding and abilities in key areas of digital marketing which empowered her to be more self-reliant and see significant improvements in user experience and website visitor numbers.

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Robert Johnson

RISING TO A 'BRAND' NEW CHALLENGE

RJ Brand
Sector: Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
Support Accessed: Strategic Workshops


When he launched RJ Brand Design, Rob’s vision was drawn from his strategic design and marketing experience to establish a full-service agency. Today, he is positioned to provide, a turn-key creative solutions to an increasing client portfolio. Becoming involved in the Digital Growth Programme gave Rob access to digital-themed, action planning workshops and a team of expert digital consultants that would become instrumental in his success – growing his personal confidence, opening new channels of work, and accelerating the expansion of RJ Brand Design’s client roster.

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