Sunday, 8 August 2010

In Cheltenham Boyzone dancer picture perfect business

FORMER dancer Chris Dagnall says his business has been given a picture perfect start thanks to a council grant.
With Boyzone the 37 years old swapped touring for his photography studio in Cheltenham.
And even though he set up Revolve Studios at the height of the credit crunch he says the past 12 months have been as successful as he could have imagined.
He was able to start the firm using a £2,500 grant from Cheltenham Borough Council to help pay the bills.
The cash, which amounted to half of the first year's basic rent on his premises in Regents Street, was offered as part of the Business Pride scheme to encourage new firms.
"Without that money we simply wouldn't have survived the first year," said Chris, 37 of Prestbury.
In London he started out as a professional dancer working and later moved into event management, working for a modelling agency.
But it was only last year that he had the brainwave to set up a photographic studio, at the same time which offered clients a makeover.
He ploughed his own money into getting the business off the ground and decided on Cheltenham as the perfect place to target families, hen nights and children's parties.
In August the studios opened with 10 members of staff.
A year later and he has now got bookings into 2011 and employs 16 full time and 10 part time employees. He hopes to expand to Gloucester by Christmas and to Exeter within a year.
He said: "When the recession hit I thought it was the right time for me.
"A lot of the rental costs for premises in Cheltenham dropped and I was able to get a nice deal.
"There's a lot of homegrown talent in Cheltenham when it comes to make up artists, hairdressers and photography. We're helping to keep that talent in the town and stop people leaving for London."
Cheltenham Borough Council no longer offers the grants, which it has replaced with the Kick Start scheme, which offers training to people who set up business after April 1 this year.
Andrew North, chief executive of Cheltenham Borough Council, said: "The Business Pride commercial rental scheme was a fantastic idea from our economic development team and I am delighted to see it making such a positive impact upon the local community. This initiative again highlights Cheltenham Borough Council's commitment to helping fledgling businesses to grow and realise their potential during difficult circumstances.
"With the support that has been and continues to be available, Cheltenham has the established track record as being the place to come and start your enterprise."