September 2023


Start-up support helps cleaning company move to the next level

“The support helped me to improve my business plan and develop a new service,"

A North Warwickshire commercial cleaning business whose founder swapped laptops and desktops for hoovers and carpet cleaners has urged other small businesses to access the local business support. 

Allan Ward decided to leave his full-time job in IT focusing on website designs, repairs and sales after he saw the potential for winning commercial cleaning contracts when his wife, Toni, started a small cleaning business. 

He started exploring the idea during the pandemic and researched the support that was available for new start-up businesses. 

That led to Allan establishing Mercia Cleaning Services Ltd last March from Austrey in Atherstone after the company was supported by the start-up team at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce

Allan attended a suite of digital marketing workshops that are available to start-up businesses which filled in the gaps in his knowledge to effectively market a business online and gave an overview of the different social media platforms. 

The Start-up support, delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Warwickshire County Council, forms part of the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale programme, and was part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Warwickshire County Council and all five District and Borough Councils. 

Allan said the support had been invaluable and he was now ready to take Mercia Cleaning Services Ltd to the next stage of its growth. 

He said: “My wife started a business as a domestic cleaning company but my ambition was to move into commercial cleaning so we pivoted the business and today it is only commercial cleaning. 

“We have contracts in various sectors including offices, schools, hotels, museums, new build projects and university lets which are mainly in the Midlands and some nationwide contracts. We employ ten people, but we are continuing to expand this year and plan to bring more local people into our company and provide them with training. 

“The support helped me to improve my business plan and develop a new service along with the knowledge I had gained from attending the workshops and the Chamber’s advice on delivering marketing campaigns. All of this plus putting together a strategic plan for the year ahead resulted in taking on an additional three staff within five months.” 

Chamber business coach Rita Booth has supported the firm from its infancy right through to enabling growth. 

She said: “It can be daunting launching a new start-up but our tailored support is available to help businesses who are less than two years old every step of the way. As a single director in a business, the start-up programme helped Allan gain clarity on the actions he needed to take, the direction he was taking his business in and helped him identify which opportunities to chase for success rather than wasting time chasing every opportunity.” 

Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place Cllr Martin Watson said: "The way Allan pivoted to spot an opportunity and then to pursue it is very impressive and typical of so many enterprising small businesses across Warwickshire. 

"The County Council is fully committed to supporting small businesses at every stage of their development, but it is often in the formative stages that support is often most-needed so I am delighted that the Start-up support proved of such high value." 

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce is delivering free-funded business support workshops on all aspects of business. To get started, please email or visit

* To find out what other support is available to your business, please call CW Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747


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