Outdoor activities firm climbs to new heights thanks to Business Wales AGP.

Business Wales AGP has provided expertise to support the growth of many companies around the country.

 The latest firm we focus on in our blog series is Creative Adventures, which trades as Boathouse Climbing Centre, a family-run business in Llandudno.

Founded by Andy and Emma-Jane Sutcliffe, the company has a community-inspired ethos, with an appeal to all ages and abilities.

Here Andy Sutcliffe tells the Creative Adventures story and gives some advice to others starting out in business.

 

Tell us about Creative Adventures.

I've spent many years developing skills and knowledge in the outdoors sector, working for different companies across the UK in various roles.

For the past 17 years, I've been based in North Wales, working with many outdoor centres as well as gaining my Adventure Activities License (AALA). I spent eight of these years as the Climbing Coordinator for Conwy County Borough Council, and for the last two years, I held the lease to run the climbing wall at Llandudno Junction Leisure Centre, aptly renamed JunctionWall.

The Boathouse Climbing Centre is the latest chapter of a six-year journey that has been extremely challenging.

Seeking out a unique building to realise our vision, alongside securing the necessary funding, the opportunity to develop a climbing centre at the Old Lifeboat Station in Llandudno came about in December 2017.

We were approached by Business Wales AGP and were provided with mentoring on a range of areas. This meant we could secure the finance to get the project off the ground.

I designed the layout and built the wall with some trades help. Building work began in November 2018, with the soft opening in February 2019.

 

 

What are your proudest moments in business so far?

Securing the loan and seeing the money in the bank. It meant we could see the vision become a reality. The community and customer reactions have made it all worthwhile, and we have received brilliant feedback from people who have used the centre.

 

If you were starting again, what would you do differently?

We'd have an actual timeline for our work plan. This would have helped with build time and expenses. Also, I think we'd not have panicked about getting the kitchen finished as it was not needed as quickly as we first thought.

 

How has support from Business Wales AGP helped your business?

Business Wales AGP gave me access to some fantastic mentors – which eventually led to me securing a loan from Development Bank of Wales.

Without the loan, the business would not be open! I then received branding and website development support through my marketing mentor, which was so helpful as I had no idea how complex it all is. Now we have a strong brand I'm proud of and not just a logo.

 

 

What advice and guidance would you give other businesses starting out?

● Persevere – every time a door gets shut on you, knock on another three!

● Stay true to yourself – listen to advice but make your own informed decision.

● Accept that mistakes happen, that's life.

● Learn – from doors shutting, advice from others and the mistakes you make.

● It can be emotional – you will be sad, happy, angry, disappointed, let down – sometimes all at the same time. So go back to tip one – you'll get there!

 

For more information on Boathouse Climbing Centre visit here.


Further information on the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme.

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