Devon’s FT2G shortlist announced!

Agri-tech specialists, a dairy farm and pop up caterers are amongst the firms that have made it to the final of Devon’s new Fast Track to Growth Programme, it was revealed.

Fifteen companies across the county have been selected to progress on to the programme that will help them develop their plans for growth in 2016. One stands the chance of winning £15,000 worth of financial strategy, PR and marketing supporting for the rest of the year.

Shortlisted are Bluebird Care, Custodian Solutions, eCow Devon, Holiday Toys, OneFlow and Pickle Shack from Exeter, Care Control Systems of Tavistock, Ottery Valley Dairy near Honiton, TIC Training of Brixham, Essential 6 of Torquay, If Everyone Cares of Dawlish, Dial South West of Newton Abbot, Yonder Berries, based in Lustleigh, Southern Filters of Axminster and Salcombe Gin Company.

Each will now receive specialist support through a series of workshops to progress their plans, ahead of a final pitch in late April and a chance to win the top prize of a year’s worth of support.

Fast Track to Growth has been developed by financial strategy experts SouthWestfd and PR, marketing and design agency Astley Media, in partnership with Exeter Innovation Centre and Innovate Exeter.

Jerry Davison, SouthWestfd Chairman said: “An incredible mix of companies applied and we’ve got a strong shortlist of firms with bold growth plans to now focus on. I’m really looking forward to getting to know the people behind the brands, as we help each business progress through the Fast Track to Growth programme.”

Fast Track to Growth is sponsored by Devon-based Crowdcube, the world’s leading investment crowdfunding platform and supported by Exeter Innovation Centre, Sampson Hall, Stephens Scown LLP, Santander Corporate and Commercial, Kingfisher Print and Design, SetSquared and Innovate Exeter. The programme helps companies work on specific growth plans and includes business planning, financial strategy, legal, marketing, PR and leadership expertise.

All companies who applied to the programme were invited to a special welcome and networking event held at University of Exeter Innovation Centre last week. Those that did not make the shortlist have been offered opportunities including places at the West Country’s only Startup Weekend event, in Exeter in June, and free places on Business Modelling and High Growth workshops at Exeter Science Park.

Luke Lang, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Crowdcube, said: “It was great to meet some of the people behind the companies who have entered Fast Track to Growth. All are led by passionate people intent on learning, seeking support and growing their business. That’s incredibly encouraging and testament to the number of firms that are now looking at developing and growing their business in new ways, which has to be good news for the South West.”

David Culshaw, senior associate, corporate team at Stephens Scown Corporate, said: “In our experience, the more that companies reach out for the right expertise to help them, the more it shows how passionate they are to succeed. Devon has a wonderful array of diverse businesses which is such a strength, but we need to do all we can to help companies fulfill their potential, which is what Fast Track to Growth is all about.”