A Newport-based entrepreneur has encouraged more businesses to contact Business Wales, after the Welsh Government’s business support service helped him secure £46k in funding to grow his business.
Ryan Welch, founder of Ryan Welch Photography, turned to Business Wales at the start of 2016 after failing to secure finance from his bank to launch his photo booth hire service, Instabooth.
After introducing Ryan to a dedicated business adviser, Business Wales provided him with support to finalise his funding application, enabling the business to secure an initial £11k loan. This was crucial for Ryan as it allowed him to launch Instabooth and led to an increased number of wedding referrals to his photography service.
Business Wales also signposted Ryan to other organisations, including Finance Wales, to obtain further specialist support. This resulted in an additional £35k loan, allowing Ryan to establish ‘Freedom Edit’ – an online outsourcing platform which is focused on editing other international photographers’ work for them.
Speaking about the support he received from Business Wales, Ryan said:
“I would thoroughly recommend using Business Wales – 100%. It’s an invaluable and free service. Business Wales really gave me a business perspective that I didn’t have before and provided it in an understandable, digestible way – paid-for business advice may sometimes veer towards telling you what you want to hear but Business Wales gives honest, practical advice and advises on what won’t work, as well as what will.”
With a number of services now operating, the future is promising for Ryan Welch Photography.
Ryan and his business adviser are currently carrying out talks with Xenos – Wales’ Business Angel Network. The aim is to match him with suitable financial investors in order to help grow ‘Freedom Edit’ over the next five years. They are also exploring the international opportunities now open to Ryan’s business.
Phil Summers, Ryan’s adviser at Business Wales, said:
“A key part of our work at Business Wales is helping businesses get the dedicated support they need to grow sustainably. Often the biggest barrier to growth is a lack of funding, but with connections to public and third-party sources of funding, Business Wales can help business owners get the financial support they need.
“Our role is very much to help companies such as Ryan Welch Photography take their business to the next level and in this way we’ll be working closely with Ryan to support the company’s continued growth and expansion.”
Ryan Welch’s top 5 tips for anyone else starting up their own business would be:
- Don’t try and do everything yourself – outsource or find people who are good at what they do whilst you focus on your skills.
- Don’t be afraid to put yourself under pressure – nothing will motivate you to push forward quite like it.
- Treat your client base like kings & queens! Word of mouth advertising is free and the best form of marketing.
- Understand your target audience before you try and market to them.
- Find someone to give you honest advice. Sometimes you need to know the truth without the sugar coating.
Business Wales, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, supports the sustainable growth of small and medium size enterprises across the country by offering access to information, guidance and business support.