Blake UK back on track thanks to Growth Hub support


Blake UK, based in Sheffield, is the largest manufacturer/supplier to the television aerial and related industries in the UK, providing a full range of TV Signal, CCTV & Wi-Fi Products to both trade installers and consumers.

Paul Blake contacted the Growth Hub back in December 2020 as he was aware that grants were available for marketing and is a big believer that you should bring in experts to fill knowledge gaps.  He was delighted when the Growth Hub assisted him in successfully applying for two marketing grant applications.  He was introduced to Steve McKevitt, then a Growth Hub Business Advisor specialising in branding and marketing, who got Blake UK on the right track with a full and in-depth marketing review that has assisted with updates to the website and improving SEO.  He also met Andy Sorsby, Business Advisor at the Growth Hub who specialises in providing strategic advice for business growth.

What the Growth Hub has done for Blake UK

Paul Blake, Managing Director of Blake UK, explains: “We have had lots of involvement with the Growth Hub this year, mainly help with sourcing grants and support with applying for them, as well as strategic business advice.  Both Andy Sorsby and Steve McKevitt have been very instrumental in our recent business growth and success, Andy on strategic advice and access to grants and Steve on the marketing and digital side. They brought a different perspective to what we do and how we could reach our markets, just by challenging us and making us think. This has been hugely valuable and is really helping to transform our business.”

Paul adds: “When COVID hit we found the first month extremely quiet, however I am Vice Chair of the Confederation of Air Industries, which played a part in getting TV/wifi installers recognised as essential workers.  Once this was achieved business started to pick up again and it gave us an opportunity to refocus on business development of all opportunities highlighted and identified through the external advice given.”

What the results have been

Andy Sorsby assisted Blake UK with accessing a number of grants including a Digital Innovation grant and a Productivity Grant.  The Digital Innovation Grant led to them bringing in a specialist consultant on strategic marketing.  They were able to invest in re-skinning their website, with more of a focus on the consumer in order to drive retail sales.

With the Productivity Grant, Blake UK was able to invest in a capacity planning software design and development for planning of our in-house manufacturing of aerials and brackets. The company also bought a forklift truck for improving materials handling in the factory.

The Productivity Grant also enabled Blake UK to modernise its production space and change its factory layout to make better use of the space available.  The subsequent growth the company experienced meant they were immediately able to create one additional full time role for an operative, with another to be created in the coming weeks.

The software that Blake UK purchased through the grant has enabled them to more accurately track production items and it will ultimately mean customers can track their own orders, down to individual pallets and their arrival dates, leading to a better overall customer experience.

Paul Blake explains: “Prior to the Lockdown we were looking to introduce a paperless system for order production through our factory but the impact of COVID meant we implemented this more quickly, to minimise contact between office and production staff.  The Productivity Grant meant we could invest in an App to allow office and production teams to communicate details of orders more effectively. This Grant also meant we were able to make changes as a result of Brexit, as we export quite a lot of goods to Ireland.”

Paul Blake adds: “Andy understands the grant application process inside out and how to find a suitable grant to help us achieve our goals.  Sometimes the grants can be quite complex to complete and he’s helped us to guide us through them really well.”

Andy Sorsby, Business Advisor at the Growth Hub, said: “Working with Paul and the team at Blake has been really rewarding.  They have taken on board our advice and made changes to their processes and procedures and made some sound investments in equipment and their factory which mean they now have a solid platform for growth.”

Andy adds: “Paul has a keen grasp of where he wants Blake UK to be and the company has made really great use of the grant funding to pivot them very strongly in the right direction. We are really excited to continue working with Blake UK and to help them achieve their goals.”

Paul concludes: “The Growth Hub has had a big impact on our business, not just on the funding they’ve enabled us to secure but also on the business, marketing and strategic planning support.  We’ve been so impressed and as we move forward with an increased focus on marketing and a new website, we are very optimistic about the future.”

For more information about Blake UK visit

South Yorkshire Growth Hub’s advisors all have many years of industry experience; from manufacturing and service sector through to finance and international operations and offer that independent, impartial perspective, which can make all the difference.

Growth Hub business advisors are based in each of the four local authorities and can advise on many areas including:

  • Strategic planning & Leadership support
    • Sales and Marketing
    • Operations
    • Financial advice
    • Skills and also Digital/IT

Any business that is looking to re-establish or recover after the lockdown, or is facing challenges that put its long term future in question, should speak to the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub team who can help guide them through the support available.