My scale-up story:

Emma Woan, Education Business Partnership (NW)

Q
How did you know you were ready to scale and why did you apply for Two Zero?
A

I established Education Business Partnership (NW) with my business partner and co-director Tracy Gardiner in 2014. The company brokers sustainable links between employers and educational establishments.  We help to prepare young people for the world of work, support schools to meet their duty of care and help businesses to fulfil their corporate and social responsibilities as well as helping to shape the future workforce, and develop a pipeline of talent.

The business has been trading for 6 years and has had no external investment at all over that time, rolling itself on the income it has generated with little marketing.

We saw gaps in provision and feel we were experienced enough and well placed to take the next step to grow the business. We wanted to have greater impact on the lives of young people, greater reach, drive social mobility and make a difference.

Q
What have you learned through the programme and how has your business grown or changed since being involved?
A

The programme has changed my attitude to risk by growing my confidence. It has also opened up new networks and contacts that I would have otherwise found difficult to make and helped me to focus on growth plans.

Whilst some areas of the business have been adversely affected by coronavirus, we have counterbalanced this by launching a new careers guidance service and also moved into a new market supporting young people on Universal Credit through the Kickstart scheme.

Q
How did Two Zero help your business to manage the challenges of coronavirus?
A

Our business came to a grinding halt in March. Schools are our main customer and so when they closed the pause button was hit.

We looked at ways we could pivot but felt our skillset and experience was in supporting those in the education sector so we spent the summer refreshing our plans, moving offices and developing virtual services and programmes. Two Zero kept my sanity and really made me focus on what was important.

Q
What’s your plan for the next three years?
A

The next three years will see us sustain, adapt and grow our core services in schools, meeting their changing needs and Government agendas. Our newly launched careers guidance service will become embedded and will reach wider learners and in turn this will grow our team of specialists.

This is now needed more than ever in our current climate. We want to work more fluidly with businesses to expand our network and investigate different ways of working better together with mutual benefits.

Q
What are your top three tips for companies who want to scale their business?
A
  1. Always say yes to opportunities
  2. Know your worth and don’t undersell yourself
  3. Write down your vision, plans and aims and become accountable to yourself or a business buddy

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