Business of the Month

H&BAI – Sam Davey

The Kent Foundation likes nothing more than when a young person following in the footsteps of their Family. Sam Davey is one of them! Growing up in a family of business people it was inevitable he was going to take his own step into business at some point.

Sam Davey – From a very young age I have been surrounded by ironmongery and its many topics! Growing up the only boy in my family with a Granddad, 3 Uncles and a Dad that are all involved in the family business, Hinges & Brackets ironmongery stores. I was quizzed on a pretty much daily basis. So it was only right that I did my share by becoming Ashford’s Saturday boy when I started secondary school in 2005. I have been lucky enough to have the opportunities and guidance to try new things, and explore paths in the industry that most don’t get to. I believe with my lifelong involvement in the industry and the guidance from my relatives and colleagues, I am the perfect product for my environment. My abilities come from knowing how to tackle jobs and projects with a personal service that the internet can never beat.

I started my own company H&B Architectural Ironmongers Ltd in 2018 with a strong idea of what I want to provide, and what I want to achieve, satisfied customers is my business strategy. Two major factors in achieving that are service and products. I’ve always been a “proper ironmongery” nerd and thrive when I work independently. Coming from a retail perspective I could see that purely having a retail premises was not enough in a changing market. I supply good quality locks, doors and window fittings and uniquely I provide a fix and install service. With the ever-changing retail market in a state of flux worldwide and the continuous flood of information available on the web.  A new strategy is needed from most modern businesses that wish to keep up. What I believe is needed is an innovative new approach to the way we do business, combining old fashioned personal service and hands on experience that builds trust and relationships with the help and efficiency of the web to communicate and relay important information and ideas.

With deep knowledge and understanding of this industry I have gained expertise in the products that I favour to specify. I always recommend the best product for the situation depending on many factors that become vital; Quality, Design, Price, Lead time, Mechanical function, Finish Quality, Product guarantee, Product support and recognition.

Some quick fire questions from The Kent Foundation

What’s been your biggest success/proudest moment to date? My biggest success so far has been designing and supplying high end British made bespoke brass ironmongery for Rochester Brewery development.

What’s been your biggest challenge? Gaining and maintaining cash flow.

What are your plans for the future? I aim to continue growing and developing my business as the market determines.

I do want to give credit to, Stuart and my business mentor Bryan for making me confident enough to realise I can do it, and do it well! Meeting the Kent Foundation has given me the confidence to believe I can achieve everything I want to in and out of work. This last year, I built a business, bought my first house, got engaged. A helpful pat on the back has sent me into a sprint.

My business tip for other young people in business is find your passion, then look for the opportunities within it, stay committed, and focus on your own vision and dream.

Find out more about Sam’s business here

The Kent Foundation Business Awards

22nd January 2020

Last years winners! who should be in this year line-up?

The Kent Foundation Business Awards Evening Reception is the perfect opportunity for all involved with The Kent Foundation to look back over the last year (2019) and celebrate the achievements that have been made by the businesses we supported, as well as recognise and thank the contribution our business mentors make. It’s also a great opportunity to meet up with everyone involved in The Kent Foundation, from new start-up businesses to experienced business mentors whilst enjoying a glass of wine.

Nominations are open for following categories:

  • The Spirit of The Kent Foundation – Recognising the contribution of a Volunteer Business Mentor.
  • Kent Foundation Start up of the Year – For the achievement of a Young Person in Business (Mentee).
  • The BIG Impact Award – Someone who has gone over and above (Young Person in Business or Volunteer) to support the wider work of the Kent Foundation, or contribution to growing the economy of Kent.

To make a nomination please email us (hello@kentfoundation.org) with your nominee’s name, which award you would like to put them forward for, and a brief statement of why you believe they should be awarded it, in no more than 100 words.

All nominations must be received by Friday 20th December 2019.

Great to catch up with everyone too!

We really look forward to seeing you there!

3 Top Business tips from Katie at Paddlesworth Produce

We asked Katie Anderson at Paddlesworth Produce to give us her top tips for anyone starting their own business.

1. Don’t be afraid to fail. As long as you learn something from it, it is not a failure but a lesson! Starting your own business means you have to learn so many new things – accounting, marketing, manufacturing, delivering – the list goes on! So you are bound to make mistakes. It is easy to give up or get down when things don’t go to plan but it has really helped me to write down the lessons I have learnt from each of the many mistakes I have made to ensure that I have actually grown through the process.

2. Start-Up businesses are just trials. When I sat in my kitchen last year and wrote down the idea for my business it did not look anything like what I am doing today. Businesses have to evolve with customer demand and there is no point offering something that people do not want just because you do not want to deviate from your original plan. Recently when I attended an entrepreneur’s course, one thing that really stuck with me was that start-ups should be renamed as “trials” and they should be seen as ways to test the water and check if your business is viable. Don’t invest too much at the start and get caught up trying to work out every individual detail because it is more than likely that things will change so quickly in the first few months that it will have been a waste of your time and money.

3. Network. When I first started my business, “networking” was such a buzzword that I thought it must be a fad I should ignore. In fact it has been one of the best things I have done to improve my business. Even if you are a shy person, there are ways to network online such as LinkedIn and Facebook groups but I would really recommend face to face conversation for the best impact. Most networking meetings I have attended haven’t ended in immediate sales, however they have always been beneficial because they have helped me to gain knowledge, find inspiration, meet contacts and source suppliers. I cannot stress how much networking should be part of your business, even if you just go and moan about how hard it is to be an entrepreneur with other entrepreneurs, it can be a lonely world running your own business don’t isolate yourself! There are tonnes of groups in Kent to join and a quick google search should get the ball rolling.

Here’s the link to her story

Business of the Month

Paddlesworth Produce – Katie Anderson

My business idea began in November 2018, the website launched in January 2019 and the first boxes were sent out this Easter. I started my business because I am really passionate about consumers buying food and drink responsibly – that means knowing where their meal has come from, how meat and eggs are farmed and acknowledging the environmental impact of packaging, waste and food miles.

However I am also a realist, I understand that farmer’s markets or rural farm shops, even high streets, are often inconvenient for shoppers to get to and I am a huge lover of online shopping because it is so simple! Combining my passion and my own shopping habits I came up with the business idea, in the hope that there were other people out there like me – who wanted to support local producers and understand more about what was on the plate but also like to place online orders in their pyjamas on the sofa.

Paddlesworth Produce sells Kentish produce online for home delivery. The produce is sold in complete meal boxes including a Breakfast Box, BBQ Box and Sunday Roast Box. The three boxes can be purchased as a one-off treat, sent as a gift or you can subscribe for regular deliveries. What makes us different is the fact that all of our products are from small businesses within a 30 mile radius, are packaged 100% plastic-free, only contain natural ingredients and are only sourced from high welfare farms.

I feel so proud of every day I get to run this business. My first orders were obviously a very memorable moment because that is when you realise that someone believes in your idea and is happy to support your business with their hard earned cash. I was announced as a finalist in the South East Rural Business Awards this week so that was definitely a huge gold star in my mind! But honestly the most satisfying part of the job is when a customer takes the time to leave me a review or send me an email saying they enjoyed their delivery. It is so easy to criticise and I know we are far more likely to leave a bad review than a good one, but in that moment that person has obviously had such a good experience with my business that they felt the need to let me know, I just love that.

I have really struggled with my pricing, it is an ongoing challenge, because I want my products to be available for everyone! It is such a hard truth to deal with when you set up a business, that you have to find your target market and create products that they will enjoy and spend their money on. It is especially hard as I am so often compared to supermarket prices, when the truth is my products cannot be bought in the supermarket, they are of a completely different calibre. I have had to learn that unless I want to offer an inferior product or create a business that is unsustainable, I do have to make sure I am making a profit not just covering my costs.

In August I am launching the Sunday Roast Box, which is really exciting and something I have had in the back of my mind since the day I launched the Breakfast Box. I am hoping this will be popular because a Sunday Roast is my favourite meal of the week and it is a great opportunity to get the family together and enjoy good food in good company!

In terms of longer term plans, I hope to increase my subscriber numbers and have started offering a bigger discount for regular subscribers to encourage this. I also am desperately searching for local and affordable storage because I now offer a range of optional extras for my boxes such as condiments, sauces, drinks & snacks and need somewhere to put it all!

Read more about Katie’s business on her website: www.paddlesworthproduce.co.uk

Look out on The Kent Foundations social media for Katie’s amazing top tips for new businesses.

Parachute Jump – A Flying Success

A big thank you to those that took the plunge for Kent Foundation

Kent Foundation for young entrepreneurs went ahead with a parachute jump at Headcorn Aerodrome on Saturday 14th May 2011.

The purpose of the event was to raise funds for Kent Foundation to support some of Kent’s young entrepreneurs.

To date, Matt Hobbs, the Tangerine team and Tara Humphrey have raised in excess of £2000 which is a great help towards supporting young entrepreneurs.

Paul Barron, Director said:

”We are extremely grateful to Matt, the Tangerine Team and Tara for their continued support. For many young people, getting a good start on the employment ladder is impossible. The Fourth Option aims to help them achieve their career goals in the early stages so they may contribute to Kent’s economy, rather than relying on others, or worse, becoming a burden on society.”

It’s never too late to support us

If you are as passionate as our brave parachute volunteers in supporting young people start up in business it is never too late to support us. Visit our Charity Giving Page to make a donation. Alternatively if you have a bright idea on how to raise money then we would love to chat with you call us on: 01622 694 341

Wheelie great welcome for Kent Peloton

Two hundred miles and two days after setting off from County Hall in Maidstone, fourteen cyclists were welcomed in Brussels last week by the British Ambassador to Belgium, Jonathan Brenton.

The group had taken on the epic ride to raise money for the Kent Foundation charity, which helps young people get started in business.

Their achievement was celebrated at a networking reception at International House in Brussels where they had the chance to promote the foundation’s work and make valuable links for young business at a European level.

The brainchild of Kent Foundation Director, Paul Barron, the bike ride has raised valuable funds to help run the foundation’s services.  It is hoped that the event will now be a major annual fund-raising event for the charity.

Kent Foundation Director, Paul Barron is one of the cyclists.  He said:

“In the current economic climate, the work of the foundation is perhaps more important than ever. Our target is £5,000 and it’s not too late to get involved and donate. This was a huge challenge for everyone involved, and it was great to be part of it.  The funds we’ve raised will mean that we can help even more young business men and women.”