Marina business launched in style service thanks to small capital grant
A new marina has become established and created jobs ahead of schedule with the support of a grant from Warwickshire County Council.
Hill Farm Marina opened in October 2017 in a picturesque location on the Stratford Canal at Wootton Wawen.
A small marina, with just 50 berths, in a rural setting on a working beef and sheep farm, it has brought another elegant dimension to the county's thriving tourism sector.
The project is a joint venture between farmer David Amor and business consultant David Cooke.
Further expansion, with a new cafe, is already planned from the strong foundation that the small business has laid with the help of a county council Small Capital Grant of just under £20,000.
That funding was invaluable, according to managing director David Cooke, both for what it enabled the business to do and also the speed with which it came through.
"The grant has been hugely helpful," David said. "It enabled us to upgrade facilities, like installing a waste pumping station and laundry room, so that people who moor their boat here know they will have access to everything they need.
"That work added a lot of value to our offer and enabled us to command a much higher mooring fee because of the quality of support services here.
"To build the marina on what was just a farmer's field was a big initial investment from us, so the grant was vital when it came to putting the finishing touches to the project.
"It was also great that the funding came through so quickly. Grants from some organisations can take a long time but this was really quick and enabled us to deliver full services to our customers much sooner than we could otherwise have done."
With guidance from Warwickshire County Council business support advisor Jagdish Soor (backed by the European Regional Development Fund), Hill Farm Marina has hit the ground running.
"Our intention was to employ three people by the end of the year but that has already happened," David said. "Business is good and we are hoping to be full by the end of 2018.
"We have further expansion planned and the grant was indirectly helpful towards that too. The expansion will be part-funded by a bank loan and the fact that we had received a grant from the council, which had looked at our business plan and liked it, definitely gave us some credibility with the bank."
* The Access to Finance advice for the company was delivered as part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council.
- To find out more about the range of support available to grow your business, please contact the Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747.