A FORMER Sunderland teacher is hoping to earn top marks for his new business venture.
Craig Shields, 32, has established the North East arm of telecommunications operation Crimzon Communications alongside business partner Nick Maden.
The firm, launched by Nick in 2006, provides all elements of telecommunications, including mobile voice and fixed line phones, broadband and in-car.
Craig, who taught PE at East Durham College, in Peterlee, turned to enterprise agency Tedco for help expanding his business beyond the start-up phase.
Business advisor Bill Hartshorne helped him find out more about the Ready for Business programme which was launched last year with the aim of creating 900 new jobs across the North East.
The scheme follows investment from the Regional Growth Fund and a partnership with Barclays Bank to deliver intensive start-up training and support for new and developing businesses, in particular focus on helping start-ups find funding.
“Looking to get a new business off the ground involves a very steep learning curve and with the support of Bill and the Ready for Business programme I was able to confidently develop my business plan, establish robust financial forecasting information and get very specific support to put in place sales and marketing activity that will support the future growth ambitions of the company,” said Craig.
“I found the help extremely valuable as they provide you with very intensive support in the very early stages to help you establish your business, but unlike a lot of other start-up programmes, they continue to work alongside you beyond the initial phase to enable you to achieve your growth ambitions and to develop the company long-term.”
Bill Hartshorne said: “Crimzon Communications is an ideal example of the type of firm Ready for Business is designed to help.
“Launching your own venture takes a huge amount of dedication, particularly in the early stages.
“For many new enterprises, the major stumbling block is securing finance, which is why we have a particular emphasis on advising business owners on the different type of help available and work with them to identify and apply for what is most appropriate for them.”