North West business briefs: iSH; Neäl & Wølf; Women Scaling Up; JMW; Scoff Paper

John Maddison

An initiative which is aimed at regenerating communities across West Cumbria – iSH, the Industrial Solutions Hub – and creating more than 700 jobs has won vital financial backing to fund its programme.

Copeland Borough Council and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) have provided funding for the scheme, including £2.329m from the Sellafield impact fund and £7m from the NDA’s socio economic fund. A bid will also go in to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund Round 2 to support iSH.

Mayor of Copeland, Mike Starkie, said: “This is an exciting day for Copeland, West Cumbria and the region – iSH will lift the aspirations of those living and working in Copeland and bring opportunities for all. Its reach can be global and its positive impact will be felt across Copeland, West Cumbria and beyond. This is the largest investment into Cleator Moor for generations.”

The iSH initiative is led by Copeland Borough Council with the support of key stakeholders including the NDA, Sellafield, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and private sector supply chain partners.

John Maddison, managing director of iSH, which will have its base in Cleator Moor, said: “This is an exciting day for iSH and we thank those in Copeland Borough Council, the NDA and Sellafield who have given our programme their support and this vital financial backing. We have ambitious plans to bring opportunity and prosperity to the area through industry, business, skills and social programmes which will make a positive difference to people’s lives and regenerate communities across West Cumbria.”

An economic assessment has estimated that the initial redevelopment of Leconfield Industrial Estate and land owned by Copeland Borough Council, supported through Town Deal, will generate more than 100 new jobs over a period of 18 months, with the overall scheme creating more than 700 jobs in the next 10 to 15 years.


Neäl & Wølf products

Professional haircare brand Neäl & Wølf has launched in Regis and Supercuts salons across the UK. Adding to the 100s of establishments that already stock its products, this move will add the Lancashire-based brand’s extensive range of styling and finishing products to more than 160 further locations.

Having initially launched in select locations, this partnership will see a full release this week. As a result, Neäl & Wølf’s award-winning hair care will now be used by Regis’s and Supercuts’ expert stylists in their salons across the nation. Additionally, Neäl & Wølf’s extensive range of styling and finishing products will also be available for consumers to purchase from the salon.

Founded by entrepreneur Neil Capstick in 2009, Neäl & Wølf was created to fill the gap in the market for high quality products, while combining luxury and affordability.

Neil Capstick said: “At Neäl & Wølf we believe that luxury hair care should be accessible to all so we’re glad to bring our expertly crafted products to thousands more people across the UK.”

CEO of UK Hairdressers, Rob Kerry, said: “We are very excited about launching Neäl & Wølf at Regis and Supercuts, one of the largest hair salon chains in the UK. Neäl & Wølf is aligned with our desire to provide salon quality results, whilst being able to maintain and style at home with their extensive retail range.”


Wendy Bowers

Female business owners and decision makers in Lancashire are being invited to apply for a six-month support programme backed by Lancashire County Council which will prepare their organisation for rapid growth.

Women Scaling Up has been launched by Two Zero, Lancashire County Council’s scaleup support service, to help female entrepreneurs take their business and leadership skills to new levels. The £3,000 programme is two thirds funded by Lancashire County Council through Two Zero. It is delivered by Role, a Lancashire business growth consultancy, headed by Wendy Bowers, with decades of female-specific business support experience.

Amin Vepari, business finance and scaleup lead, Lancashire County Council, is programme manager for Two Zero. He said: “We are well aware that there is a shortage in provision of female business support in Lancashire and we are delighted to be collaborating with Wendy to address some of this shortage and help deliver what will be a brilliant business support programme.”

Female entrepreneurs will receive an initial six months of support, which will include boardroom masterclasses on key aspects of scaleup, executive coaching, a residential mindset and resilience retreat at Whalley Abbey as well as an outdoor activity day to build communication and leadership skills. The initial support will be followed by bimonthly support sessions for a further year. The programme will begin in September 2022.

Wendy Bowers said: “Working with Lancashire County Council over recent months, we have identified a gap in the business support available to women in the county. There is generic startup support for all, but much of the one-to-one specialist and mentoring support for growth businesses is for those with 10+ staff. Very few female owned businesses reach 10+ staff both locally and nationally. Nationally only 13% achieve high growth. We want to help Lancashire women who have the ambition to scale their business to achieve strong and sustainable growth.”


The Castle Street site

JMW Solicitors’ real estate team has advised Performance Property Group and PPG MEPS on an 11,000 sq ft deal as it continues its acquisition trail to expand its residential property portfolio. It has acquired Windsors on Stockport’s Castle Street, an 11,000 sq ft building comprising 14 apartments along with two commercial units and five garages.

Performance Property Group is a property investment business set up by Jay Puddy and former professional footballer, Christian Ribeiro. The team draw on their expertise and knowledge to support sportspeople to build a separate income stream and secure their financial future via property investment. The building has been purchased with one of its professional footballer clients, Chris Mepham, of AFC Bournemouth.

Chris Ribeiro said: “This is one of our strategies to help grow significant portfolios for our players, whilst also being as hands-free as possible for them whilst they are still playing football every day. This is the start of numerous purchases that will help to secure the financial future of our team of football players in anticipation of their inevitable retirement from the beautiful game.”

Julian Rogozinski, partner at JMW Solicitors, said: “We’re pleased to have been able to support Performance Property Group on this latest deal – another strong long term investment opportunity. The building provides affordable private rental property that is high quality, safe, secure and well located. We look forward to working with the team as its residential property portfolio continues to expand.”

Jay Puddy said: “This deal is one of our largest standalone purchases since launching but we hope to beat that record in the coming months with the exciting pipeline that we have created. We are working incredibly hard to help our footballers grow their property portfolios alongside our own and we love supporting the players with our bespoke hands-free service.”


One of the Scoff Paper edible cards

From a fun project to keep busy in lockdown to reaching hundreds of thousands of households worldwide, what is believed to be the world’s first edible dog card is taking the pet industry by storm.

Scoff Paper founder and Chorley resident Gemma Connolly started experimenting with potato peelings in lockdown trying to make edible paper for her dog, Loki. Fast forward almost two years and the 37-year-old has done deals with everyone from Pets at Home to John Lewis and now has enquiries from all over the world.

Gemma said: “I’ve always loved dogs, and having raised and trained 12 guide dog puppies, the doggies are a huge part of my life. Because we only get a guide dog puppy for the first 12 months of their life, I always throw lots of parties and celebrations for them. It was when I had a dog called Loki that I threw him a birthday party and he tried to eat his card – at that point I had a bit of a brainwave and – could I make cards that dogs can actually eat?”

Gemma and her partner and co-founder, Matthew Fairhurst, experimented with ingredients on their kitchen table, before, after months of testing, they went to local pet stores with their products. Gemma started selling the cards on Etsy and approached pet stores and garden centres. Since then, the business has grown organically week on week and now operates from a two-storey 10,000 sq ft unit which turns out 20,000 cards each month.

Gemma said: “It’s amazing that within our first year of trading we are already working with the likes of Pets at Home and Clintons. I can’t quite believe it. We’ve recently gone international, too, having visited our first trade show overseas. We’re having conversations with firms all over the world – from the USA to Australia. It’s amazing.”