Alister Nightingale first began exploring self-employment three years ago after being forced to look for alternative employment when the haulage company he worked for closed its UK operations. He decided to try his hand at contract work, where he provided his services whilst working for a number of agencies.
The experience left him disillusioned and frustrated and so Alister decided to use his knowledge of the industry to start his own business, built around his own values. Having never run a company before, Alister contacted Launchpad, a specialist support service which provides free advice and workshops to individuals who are thinking of starting their own business.
Working with a business advisor, Alister attended a number of events hosted by Doncaster Chamber of Commerce where he met others also developing their business ideas, as well as benefitting from help when writing a business plan, allowing him to secure finance to purchase his first vehicle.
Since launching his business, Alister has secured an exclusive contract with a national courier delivery service covering the Doncaster area and he has already added a second vehicle to his fleet to cope with the growing demand for his services. Such has been the success of his fledgling business that Alister is already hoping to recruit new drivers and is setting his sights on opening a new depot to help grow the business further.
Alister Nightingale said: “Using my own knowledge of the industry, I felt there was a need for a new business which provided reliable deliveries. My experience of working as a contracted driver left me feeling under-appreciated and it inspired me to look into running my own company.
“Although I’ve worked in the industry since leaving the army ten years ago, I never really thought self-employment was an option for me, but the support I’ve received from Launchpad has helped to give me confidence in my idea. Although it’s still relatively early days for me, I’m already looking for new drivers to join the business. So far, it’s been a very exciting journey and the support I’ve received from Launchpad and Doncaster Chamber helped to give me the confidence I needed to take the plunge into running my own business.”
Claire Bossward, Business and Enterprise manager at Launchpad said: “The Launchpad programme provides free support, help and advice to anyone who is thinking of starting their own business, or has started trading within the past two years. In Doncaster the service is run in conjunction with Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, who provide anyone who signs up to the programme with twelve months free membership to the Chamber, where Alister has been able to make new business contacts by attending regular events.
“Like many entrepreneurs, Alister had a clear idea of what he wanted to achieve with his business, but he wasn’t really sure where to turn for help. Working closely with his business advisor, he was able to secure funding to purchase two new vehicles, allowing him to grow and develop the business and he’s already looking towards recruiting his first members of staff and developing the idea further.”
Launchpad is a unique scheme which forms part of the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub. Funded by the European Union Regional Development Fund and delivered by local authorities within the Sheffield City Region and the Princes Trust, the programme provides free help and support to budding entrepreneurs in the Sheffield City Region who are thinking of starting their own business, or have started trading within the last two years.
For more information on the Launchpad programme and how it operates throughout the Sheffield City Region, contact the SCR Growth Hub Gateway on 03330 00 00 39 or send an email.