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Coffee Company Gets A Break Thanks to Growth Hub

Cafeology, an independently owned coffee supplier based in Sheffield, is regaining lost ground as a result of the Lockdown, thanks to support from Sheffield City Region’s Re-Start to Growth initiative.

The programme, run through Sheffield City Region LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership), gives businesses access to experienced and skilled experts to help assess, plan and restart their company through an agreed programme of intensive support.

When the Lockdown hit, Cafeology saw its customer orders, which were mainly from pubs, venues, hotels, restaurants, colleges and universities, reduce by 90%. Cafeology had worked with Amanda Ryalls at the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub before and, aware of the difficulties that Cafeology was facing, she suggested they undertake the Re-Start to Growth programme.

Bryan Unkles, Director of Cafeology explains: “At the start of Lockdown, Covid-19 had a devastating impact on our business. Our sales of trade coffee dropped massively overnight and we had to look at new markets. It has been great to work with the Growth Hub which has given us that important external perspective. They have challenged us about what we wanted to do and why and provided us with a structured business plan for the next three years.”


John Hassall, Business Growth Specialist at the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub, carried out four one-to-one sessions specifically focused on the business’ needs, run over a four-week period. The aim was to refocus their efforts on the identification of new markets and new income streams which would mean Cafeology could retain its workforce and gain new sales. During lockdown, the business focused on servicing the domestic market, but the new business plan looked at how Cafeology could gain lost ground in its business to business markets once restrictions were lifted.

Bryan Unkles continues: “The support we have had from the Growth Hub has been invaluable in helping us to address our markets and to come up with a strategic plan to take us forward into the future. We had to furlough 15 of our 20 staff during Lockdown, but we’re hoping that by implementing the plan, we can gradually bring everyone back and return to the level of sales we enjoyed prior to this.”

John Hassall explains: “Cafeology reacted swiftly to the impact of the Lockdown and already had some great ideas. My role was to provide a framework and structure for how they should move forward. It is great to see that the company has already started to regain lost ground and that they are picking up new accounts with trade customers. We wish Cafeology all the best in the future.”

The Re-Start to Growth initiative that Cafeology benefited from provides businesses with two full days with an experienced growth specialist, who can offer business leaders help and guidance in the following areas:

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

Sheffield City Region 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.
If further help is required after the completion of the Re-Start to Growth initiative, the business could be eligible to access additional support through Re-Start to Growth+ (Plus). This provides a further 2 days of intensive support which would be delivered over an agreed time period (limited to three months).

Any business that is looking to re-establish or recover after making significant losses due to the Coronavirus lockdown, or is facing challenges that put its long term future in question, should speak to the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub team about the Re-Start to Growth or Re-Start to Growth+ packages.

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