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:
Blighty Booch Kombucha is the creation of entrepreneur Mark Pavey. Previously a professional
Project Manager working in the music industry he developed the idea for his company
following period of ill health. This lead him to become interested in the health properties
of the fermented tea, Kombucha which he’d become interested in while travelling in
This interest in a healthy drink that could have significant health benefits for himself and many others lead to the creation of Blighty Booch Kombucha – one of Wales’ newest health food brands.
Still in the early stages of the business, this does not stop founder Mark having an ambitious vision for a business he believes could ensure his customers live healthier and happier lives.
The Product: Kombucha
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink which its fans claim has a whole range of health benefits, especially for gut health - the ‘microbiome’, a concept that has become much more mainstream over the last few years.
This is the idea that by having a wide and varied diet, rich in wholefoods, vegetables, fibre, fruit and avoiding completely or reducing processed food can improve health of the microbes in the gut. This might lead to better health and a reduction in the symptoms of common complaints such as IBS, Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Although the health claims of Kombucha are not recognised in the UK under EU law, the product has a huge following in Canada where it is an established food category. The market is growing exponentially in the UK with London leading the way.
There is real excitement about Blighty Booch Kombucha. Mark recently received an Innovation Partnership Grant worth £70,000 to complete a feasibility study. He is currently working with Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s Food Technology Centre, Aber Falls Gin and the Great Orme Brewery on this.
Blightly Booch Kombucha will be Mark’s first food product to market and will have an industry launch this year with a view to becoming a common sight on supermarket shelves in 2020 – until then if you’d like to sample Blighty Booch Kombucha you’ll need to make your way to the website or London’s trendy Borough Market and buy a bottle!
North Wales Business Academy
Blighty Booch Kombucha joined the North Wales Business Academy in 2018 and completed the Strategic Business Analysis (SBA) course, followed by Phase 2 course Business Marketing in February 2019.
Mark Pavey, Founder Blighty Booch Kombucha explains:
The North Wales Business Academy has been a worthwhile experience. The Strategic Business Analysis (SBA) course in particular helped me look at my business plan in a critical and fully applied way.
I found that having a fully researched, well thought-out business plan is a passport for the Banks to take you and your business seriously.
I’m also attending the Phase 2 course Business Marketing with a view to putting the knowledge I already have into a theoretical context.
What I learnt is certainly going to help me make sure that I get value from PR professionals and web experts that I’m working with to develop the business.
Joining the North Wales Business Academy has certainly had a positive impact on the business so far - the experience, contacts and planning experience I’ve gained will hopefully contribute to the Blighty Booch Kombucha in becoming a transformative business in the North West Wales economy.
Gwin Dylanwad was established in 2014, at the height of the Christmas shopping
For Llinos and Dylan, it was a long anticipated, and well researched project that would allow them to spend more time together in sphere of business that they already had prior experience - thanks to Dylan's many years as chef proprietor of popular Dolgellau restaurant 'Dylanwad Da'.
Despite their pedigree the launch of Gwin Dylanwad was still a step into the unknown as neither Llinos, who was an English teacher at Ysgol Y Gader, Dolgellau nor Dylan had experience in retail business.
Since the launch in 2014 Dylanwad Gwin has become a popular café, deli, venue and meeting place. They import continental treats such as panatone, pastas, sweets and more. The real passion however is the carefully selected wines from the UK and Europe, and then of course there is the craft and flavoured gin - from Wales, Ireland and the UK.
North Wales Business Academy
Prior to launching Gwin Dylanwad, Llinos and Dylan had help from Busnes Cymru in the form of business training, this included training on 'employing people'. Dylan's Wine Spirit Education Trust qualifications came in useful too.
When Llinos attended the NWBA Strategic Business Analysis (SBA) course at Portmeirion in May 2018 it was to fine tune the business. As a result there were key areas in which Gwin Dylanwad was able to affect real change. Staffing was the first and most important.
As Llinos explained:
Our staff are our greatest asset, all you need to do is glance at our 'Trip Advisor' page and you'll appreciate that our customers value greatly the contribution both Terri and Emma make to the business.
The SBA course forced us really analyse the business and look at our strengths – as part of this we looked at staffing. We were able to define people's roles, for example Emma now does most of the ordering. We've been able to evaluate people's strengths and give them more responsibility. This has in turn has freed Dylan and I up to concentrate on the business.
Through our business we have created quality jobs for young people in Dolgellau and we are very proud that members of the team have been able to buy property locally.
Another way in which the business benefited from the North Wales Business Academy (NWBA) is that it gave Llinos and Dylan the opportunity to analyse in detail business throughout the year.
They have since put targets in place for each month. As the results they have come up with innovative ways of meeting targets and ensuring business throughout the quieter months.
These innovations include a 'Christmas, Vintage and Jewellery' party, book signings, monthly 'Wool and Wine' events, and much more. The strategy has paid off with these events now making a real contribution to the company's monthly business.
Addressing training needs has also been another outcome of joining the NWBA project. Team member Emma will be attending an ILM course with Grŵp Llandrillo Menai and Terri is already a member of the Young Talent Academy – an intensive training course for future managers available through the NWBA project.
Benefits to the Business
Overall, the North Wales Business Academy inspired usexplained Llinos,
we've fine-tuned the business and tied-up loose ends.
We've resolved minor issues such as wastage that we've addressed by introducing processes and training. We've analysed the business structure and how we operate.
Our experience with the North Wales Business Academy made us think about what we do, what our strengths are and how we can be more innovative in our approach. It's been a real catalyst for change.
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."