What does it take to be a Most Promising New Start Up finalist?

For the third year running Grindeys Solicitors are sponsoring the ‘Most Promising New Start Up Award’ at the Staffordshire Chamber Business Awards. Grindeys sponsor this award because start-up businesses play such major part in the growth and success of our local business economy. As sponsors, Steven Grocott, Managing Director at Grindeys and Susan Lewis, Head of Business Services have met the finalists in this category and they describe them as, “interesting and inspirational.”

So, what exactly does it take to be chosen as a finalist in this extremely competitive (over thirty entries received) category? All these companies started within the past three years (incorporated after April 2014) and they all demonstrate aspects associated with a successful new business including; innovation, launch and delivery of the product or service to market and the potential for growth.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the finalists: True Grit Training, Wealth Design Limited, Enlighten and ICanPlaySport

True Grit Training

This Stoke on Trent based business was started in 2014.  True Grit is a training facility specialising in fat loss, sports performance and improving body composition. Classes consist of high-intensity training, weight training, core work and cardio all within a 30-45 minute period. They welcome people of all shapes and sizes and believe that physical and mental transformations are intrinsically linked and each client is offered a personal mentor to help them achieve their goals.

This new approach to fitness has proved so popular that in three years they have increased staff numbers from 2 to 20 and in 2016 the founders invested 70K into purchasing new premises giving them a 6,000 sqft gym. However, demand was so high they very quickly needed to expand into adjacent premises giving them a further 8,000 sqft.  Their future plans include the opening of a second gym at different location with the requirement of at least ten more staff. With 5,000 members and flexible payment options  - monthly fee or pay as you go – this innovative gym is going from strength to strength.

Wealth Design Limited

Wealth Design provides tailored independent financial advice including pensions, investments, trust funds, tax and inheritance tax planning and protection. The company has five advisers and provides financial advice to individuals with over £300K of investable assets, and business owners.

They have a unique approach. One of their business strengths is providing an excellent client service. They have invested in an App which provides clients with easy portfolio access and makes it simple for the firm to obtain client feedback which enables them to continually improve their service. They also use IT to analyse clients’ attitude to risk, alongside their goals and aspirations to find perfectly customised investment and protection solutions.

Their innovative approach clearly works. In the first year they were managing assets to the value of £50 million and they are on track to increase that figure to £102 million by 2018. They have already expanded from their Cannock base to Sutton Coldfield with the acquisition of like minded firm Hunter and Co.  To secure future growth they intend to increase their target regions with Wales as the next goal.


The Tamworth based Edtech company provide Augmented and Virtual Reality (VR) solutions for education, training and business markets.

The business was born just 12 months ago and they have achieved an incredible start. Their eLearning resource has been accessed by 100,000 users and has attracted over 15 million of UK funding.  Some huge names have noticed their innovative approach and they have been featured in a Times Supplement about Augmented and Virtual Reality, Virgin nominated them Start Up of the Week and the Department of International Trade chose them to exhibit at the largest Ed Tech show in Europe. At the show they were selected ahead of 600 other exhibitors to be the subject of a detailed case study about global scalability.  They are also positioning themselves as a thought leader in this specialised area and have been referenced in a government report about the positive role of VR in education and are booked as speakers at numerous global seminars.

All this high profile exposure and the success of this start-up is demonstrated in the company finances which show a healthy profit in year one, a figure that is predicted to more than triple in the second year.


ICanPlaySport is a totally new idea in the sports coaching sector. They offer classes to children aged 2-3, 3-5 and 4-7, structured into 6 week courses. Each six week course is based on a specific sport and delivers multiskills training through the theme of that sport, giving the children an all round introduction to the skills and knowledge of a broad range of sports. Over 12 months each child will participate in badminton, basketball, cricket, football, hockey, rugby and tennis.

ICanPlaySport are the only business to focus on delivering a structured multiskills coaching programme through specific sports in the UK to this age group.

Since they started trading in March 2015 this Stafford based company has doubled their first year profit and expects to nearly double their second year profit in 2017/ 2018 which, is a fantastic achievement for a new business.  They aim to have increased that first year turnover by ten times within the next three years.  To do this the owners are constantly analysing busines performance and use the information to streamline the busines to ensure the maximum profits. They are also investing in marketing,  are increasing the number of venues and have plans to franchise the business across the UK.

The winner will be announced on 6th July

All these businesses are extremely worthy winners for this category. They have all clearly met the award the criteria of innovation, delivery to market and the potential for growth and they are a credit to Staffordshire. However, there can only be one winner. The decision is now in the hands of the judging panel and will be announced at the Award Ceremony on the 6th July.

Good Luck to all our finalists!  We are sure we will be seeing much more of all these businesses in the years to come.

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