Mentoring helps Darwen print firm go international
A Lancashire-based print management company is set to take on new staff and move to bigger premises after getting support from Boost to help manage its rapid growth.
Empine Group, established in 2015 by local entrepreneurs Jacob Knowles and Anthony Taylor, has grown expected turnover to £175,000 and aims to hit sales of £1m within the next five years.
The Darwen-based company has clients across the UK, including locations such as Edinburgh, Sheffield and London, and recently bagged its first international order delivered to Portugal.
The young entrepreneurs received help from the Boost mentoring programme delivered by Community and Business Partners, which has enabled the business to get expert marketing advice.
Boost is Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub and is led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Lancashire County Council, and supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Jacob said: “What sets us apart is our investment in software and technology. It means we can provide a full range of printed marketing materials using many different suppliers to get our customers the best possible price. From large-scale event and exhibition requirements, through to marketing collateral and printed stationery, we source, manage and deliver it all.”
Community and Business Partners matched Jacob, 23, and Anthony, 25, with experienced business mentor and marketing expert Jean Atkinson, owner of Eden Marketing.
Jean, who worked with the business over a sixth-month period, said: “Jacob and Anthony are an inspiration to anyone who wants to start their own business. They are very focused and determined on their goals. The mentoring service is all about helping businesses like Empine have a plan to achieve and manage that growth in a sustainable way.”
Jacob added: “The support we’ve had through Boost has been invaluable in moving from a start-up business to a scaling-up business. Jean has offered amazing advice and an impartial view. We’re hoping to take on two members of staff and move to larger premises within the next 12-months.”
Empine has clients across many sectors and also launched a specialist educational print division at the beginning of 2017 due to growth in this market.
Jacob attended the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy and was named as one of the top young entrepreneurs in the country. He also came second in national entrepreneurship competition judged by Dragon’s Den investor Theo Paphitis. Jacob and Anthony were recently awarded North West Young Entrepreneurs of the Year in the 2017 FSB World Pay Awards.