If you have benefited from a NWBA programme, why not recommend it to your business colleagues, clients, customers or suppliers.
A selection of case studies and testimonials can be found below:
Window-Tint.co.uk is a Saltney based company specialising in pre-cut window tints for any car, no matter what make or model. The company is the UK's leading supplier of pre-cut car window tinting kits.
Owner Tom started the company nearly eight years ago. At the beginning the company was a part-time enterprise which he ran from the spare bedroom while holding down a full-time job.
As the business soon took off Tom reduced his working hours before finally taking the plunge and giving up his day job.
The inspiration for the company came from Tom's own passion for cars. He explains:
When I was younger I was interested in modifying my own car and one of the things I wanted to do was tint the windows. I did some research and realised that I could buy all the materials I needed online without having to go to a specialist company, it developed from there really.
That was about eight years ago, I'd been working as a web designer so I set up a website and the company grew organically.
Today Window-Tint.co.uk sell their products in the UK, Europe, Australia and the US. They pride themselves in providing a swift service – orders placed for pre-cut tints can be manufactured and delivered on the very same day!
Tom attended the North Wales Business Academy's Strategic Business Analysis(SBA) course at Wrexham Glyndŵr University in January 2017, the aim was to spend time focusing on the business and developing a plan to grow the business further.
I found the SBA really helpful in giving me the confidence to really look at my business and plan. The two days out of the office allowed me to focus on how I would like to develop the business.
Attending the course with other business owners was also a huge help, and it gave me a lot of confidence to plan to expand into new markets. As a result, we decided to develop plans to start selling direct to professional installers. We hope that this will be a significant new market for Window-Tint.co.uk.
I'd recommend the NWBA to fellow business owners. The cost for the initial training was only £150, which is great value when you think about the quality of the training and the mentoring which is included. It's very much worth it for a small to medium size enterprise that is looking to expand.
The North Wales Business Academy(NWBA) is aimed at companies with four employees or more, who are based in North Wales and that want to grow their business through training.
The NWBA is and innovative project part funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.
The investment that the North Wales Business Academy has put into this course is fantastic – we've had a number of tutors and experts introduce subjects such as Management and Developing People, they all have industry knowledge and real life experience which really helps bring the subjects to life.
In Plas Menai's mission statement we say we want ‘Every Child in Wales Hooked on Sport for Life' and ‘To Create a Nation of Champions', whether these champions are elite athletes, participants of an army of volunteers.
The Strategic Business Analysis Course has given me the space to really look at what we do as an organisation and why we do certain things, as we move forward with our mission what I've learnt will certainly come into play.
The North Wales Business Academy's Strategic Business Analysis course has been a great experience – first and foremost its taught me how much I enjoy education and learning, it's something I've been away from of some time.
At the moment Cambria Credit Union is on a programme the outcome of which aims to make the company a ‘Great Place to Work' by empowering staff and investing in people.
Everything we've covered so far fits in really well, coming on the back of a period of change this course will give us the opportunity to focus on where we want to be as a company, what we are doing, and how to get going.
An inventor who designed a computer monitoring system to support vulnerable elderly people living alone has collaborated with a university to take the product to market.
Tim Jones worked alongside North Wales School of Business and the School of Creative Arts at Wrexham Glyndwr University to develop BenignEye technology.
The inspiration came from his late mum, Beris, who lived independently in Chester until she died from a recurrence of cancer in early 2016.
He began to explore ways of recording and observing how she moved around the house and used appliances, for peace of mind, before later deciding to pursue the idea as a possible business.
The BenignEye System has a unique self-learning capability and spends the first 30 days observing how your loved one moves around the house and what they do - things like how many times they put the kettle on, how long they normally sit in their favourite chair, and whether there is a pattern to this.
Having determined what normality looks like for any one individual, BenignEye will then alert you by text or email if something isn't quite right.
Perhaps he or she got up later today and didn't make themselves a cup of tea at the usual time, or they were just less mobile than usual. Once you know, you can give them a call and check everything is ok.
BenignEye can also protect the monitored individual by automatically turning off appliances if they've been left on, or warn you that the temperature of the house is too low in the winter. There is a large choice of sensors – up to 232 – including those covering motion, smart-plug monitoring and door-switches that will give peace of mind.
The system can be fitted with a battery back-up system in case of a power cut, and can notify the operator when friends, family or carers visit the home.
Tim said his own mum played a major role in helping to develop the equipment, acting as a "test case" so that he could further analyse the system, before she sadly passed away last year.
I had started to detect that her health was deteriorating, and though she was very independent
Mum was my test case and wanted to help me as she was a massive fan of the project was happy to help other people in her position, so we were able to get data from around the house.
I know there are many people out there like her, who live alone despite their late age and fight for the right do so. They deserve that right, but you can obviously understand the concerns of people around them – I experienced that myself – so this is a way that can help.
A former IT project manager with the emergency services, Tim enlisted the help of Wrexham Glyndwr University in getting the business of the ground, particularly Photography and Film Students.
Under the guidance of lecturer Joe Edwards, they helped him to produce a short video and collaborated with other departments at the University on marketing and competitive analysis. Tim also attended a Strategic Business module with North Wales Business Academy, and found the support of the University to be of
huge benefitto him.
I really loved being part of the Academy, it was of huge benefit to me and extremely useful
There were a lot of different strands that have helped me in building my own company and preparing to launch the product.
It was also really useful in making me think about things I hadn't considered, such as marketing, as well as ironing out some teething problems before I go live this autumn.
For more information, visit www.benigneye.com
The Patchwork Traditional Food Company Ltd is a much loved Welsh company best known for its range of delicious artisan pâtés, however we also produce delicious relishes and chutneys.
There are three of us attending the SBA, and so far has offered us the us the opportunity to have some time away from the office to review our business practices and look at how, as a new management team we can move the business forward.
We hope that Patchwork's involvement in the North Wales Business Academy will help us find ways to effectively grow awareness of the Patchwork brand and develop our plans to expand the business into new markets.
As an owner of a care home with 33 years' experience in the industry I joined the North Wales Business Academy because I wanted to know if we were doing the right things to sustain and develop the business. Are the plans I have in place sound, and do they reflect my values and goals?
I'm a firm believer that you need to review your operation in order to more forward, the training through the North Wales Business Academy has allowed me to do that.
The quality of training was excellent also, the speakers that we had on the strategic business analysis were really top class– I can't emphasise enough the value for money. For an SME with under 40 employees, £150 is very affordable and by changing your operation you find you will recoup this investment many times over.
North Wales Business Academy success story Brady Global Ltd started out with modest roots in 1988, founders Mick and Jan Brady decided they wanted a change from their respective careers in teaching and floristry.
To start with the business model was simple enough, Mick would attend MOD auctions where he would purchase itchy shirts and woollen jumpers. Jan would repair the stock ready for sale at Sunday markets and building sites – Denbigh Army Surplus was born.
Fast forward nearly 30 years, business, retail, our highstreets and the company’s name all changed beyond recognition.
Rich Brady, Mick and Jan’s youngest son is Brady Global’s Managing Director.
For the last ten years Rich has been at the forefront of transforming the business from traditional Army surplus business to an ecommerce business, he’s masterminded the online sister-brand Recruit Pack which is marketed solely through social media.
Other Brady brands include DAS Outdoors, malmö International and A Different View.
North Wales Business Academy:
Brady Global joined the NWBA in 2017, at that time their main business was still trading as Denbigh Army Surplus(DAS).
It was a busy time for the business and a challenging time,Rich comments,
I hesitated for a long-time about whether I wanted to commit the hours to the doing the Strategic Business Analysis(SBA) course.
Our overheads had been increasing and sales were dropping at the beginning of 2017. We had made new investments, and while I was sure they would pay off, I can't say I wasn't worried for a while, so I threw myself into firefighting. It was around that time I decided to book myself onto the course and commit, rather than wait for this mythical 'right time' that rarely appears.
The SBA is a two-day commitment, the cost makes it very accessible and quite honestly I never anticipated just how much I would get out it.
There was a great mix attending the course, from family run businesses like DAS (as we were at the time), to social enterprises, to a large company who had three of its management team attending. It was heartening to discover that all businesses share the same challenges and frustrations, and it was great to have that ‘safe place’ where we could discuss our businesses frankly.
The SBA gave me the opportunity to take a step back and really think about the next 5-10 years. The mentoring that was included was invaluable, and the academic work has informed the future direction of the business – starting with the re-brand and launch of Brady Global – it’s taught me to be acutely aware of what is going on around us in terms of mobile, purchasing patterns and emerging technologies such as 3D printing.So what is next for Brady Global?
Lynne Wood, Director, Direct Line Communications Ltd, joined North Wales Business Academy and attended the Strategic Business Analysis (SBA) course in March 2017, at Wrexham Glyndŵr University. Supported by her NWBA mentor, Lynne and team have embedded planning tools learned as part of the SBA within all aspects of the organisation. Lynne said:
"The roadmap has become a live, large scale planning and strategic thinking tool within our company. Team meetings now link to the road map and we are constantly updating it and improving our understanding of the business. This has supported us to generate new ideas, tackle barriers and make the most of new opportunities. Over the past 12 months we have increased staff numbers, grown by 30% and broken through the glass barrier we had encountered within our growth plan."