Clwyd Chambers Ltd
Having set up her own building surveying practice, Hannah James Associates, North Wales-born Hannah James wanted to start a new business venture, providing meeting room/business suite hire and office accommodation on short and medium-term basis.
Clwyd Chambers Ltd launched in January 2018 and was set up to encourage local people to start their own business and run it from the premises.
As well as meeting rooms and office space, Clwyd Chambers aims to create a collaborative working environment for tenants, providing specialist services and mentoring to small businesses to encourage business growth and economic development.
The project, facilitated with Business Wales’ support, has created one full-time job so far and will contribute to the regeneration plan of Rhyl.
What they did
With a wealth of building surveying experience working on a variety of commercial and domestic construction projects, Hannah bought the former Court House on Clwyd Street in Rhyl, Denbighshire, in September 2017, and converted the property into a business space, comprising of a board room, 13 suites and meeting rooms, all equipped to an exceptionally high standard.
Hannah sought Business Wales’ assistance as she needed grant investment towards renovating costs, furnishings, signage and equipment.
What would they do differently?
"Nothing really, everything has gone to plan so far and we have had some excellent feedback and response from people." – Hannah James
Their proudest moment in business
"Our proudest moment in business to date was our launch event in January 2018 and getting all the positive and reassuring feedback from family, friends and the community, that we have done the right thing by investing in our local town."
Do they use Welsh in their business? If so, how has this helped them
A bilingual website is being constructed and one of the building operators, Richard James, is a fluent Welsh speaker.
Describe the type of support (financial / non-financial) they’ve received from Business Wales / Welsh Government
Hannah met with Business Wales’ adviser Sian Jones in October 2016 to discuss funding options for her new business project. Sian advised Hannah on available finance and assisted her to successfully apply for the Denbighshire County Council Business Development Grant towards renovating and refurbishing the Court House. Sian also helped with Welsh Language and Equal Opportunity policies, marketing, business and financial planning to support the grant application.
Business Wales’ Skills Gateway adviser Beverley Brindley provided further guidance with various employment incentives, training and graduate programmes. David Walker, a Resource Efficiency specialist, advised on refurbishing the property, energy use, carried out lighting assessment and helped with implementing an environmental policy. Hannah also attended a Google AdWords workshop.
Hannah commented: "Sian Jones has been absolutely fantastic. She has provided excellent business support and has helped us secure a substantial grant from the Local Authority. We have also received assistance with environmental assessment, waste management and policies. Business Wales’ support has been really invaluable to us and we are still benefitting from it by exploring further training opportunities."
Here are Hannah’s top tips for anyone else looking to start or grow their own business:
- start small
- know your product/service well
- be really good at what you do and ensure the quality of what you offer to your clients is excellent