Stoke signage company points the way to growth with Michelin Development
A Stoke-on-Trent signage company is conquering new markets and creating jobs following a £50,000 cash injection from Michelin Development.
Dresden-based A2B Signs and Graphics is investing in state-of-the-art technology to reach new customers in the UK and overseas.
The money, which has been match funded by a grant from Stoke-on-Trent City Council, has enabled A2B Signs and Graphics to make a £150,000 investment in a finishing table.
This allows the company to produce larger-format printed materials on almost any substrate. As a result, over the next three years, the business is forecasting turnover to reach more than £1.2 million and staff numbers to almost double from 13 people to 25.
Specialising in bespoke signage, vehicle and fleet livery, wide format print, exhibition displays and labels, A2B Signs and Graphics was set up by James Machin after he left Staffordshire University in 2007, where he studied business.
He started the firm from his home, working around hotel shifts to get the company off the ground.
It has continued to grow and James applied to Michelin Development to support his ambitious plans, after largely self-financing expansion over the years.
Michelin Development offers subsidised, unsecured loans of up to £50,000 for projects with the potential to create high-quality, sustainable jobs. Applicants must employ fewer than 250 people and be involved in manufacturing, engineering or business to business services.
Mr Machin said: “The new machine is transforming our business and enabling us to do much more for our clients.
“We are now working across the length and breadth of the UK and Northern Ireland and we’ve also won work in the Middle East.
“The support we have had from Michelin Development has helped make this all possible. It’s a great service and we would highly recommend it to businesses looking to grow.”
Mike Cole, head of Michelin Development, is keen to hear from other North Staffordshire businesses targeting growth.
Mr Cole said: “James is a true entrepreneur and he is now in a position to really power forward.”
“This particular loan has been even more satisfying because we collaborated with Stoke-on-Trent City Council, who sit on our Michelin Development steering committee, and match funded their grant offer.
“They match funded through the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Grants for Growth programme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
“The early release of the Michelin funds meant we were able to help cover the gap in the cashflow between James purchasing the machine and receiving the grant.
“A2B Signs and Graphics is a great example of a business looking to expand, create jobs and support the local economy as a whole.
“Our message to other small businesses on the same footing is that we are here to help.
“We have the funds in place, but we need to receive applications to deliver this support and investment in our community.
“The companies we can help know their markets and figures – they just need a little extra support to move along on their growth journey. That is where we can step in.”
Date published: 06/01/2020