The Business Growth Hub has helped to give the green light to Koolkarts, a new business that mixes play with an important road safety message.
Having already secured significant funding to develop his company, 22-year-old entrepreneur Matthew O’Neil needed support to take Koolkarts to the next level.
Matthew had been running the company, which offers go-kart and soft play activities with a unique road safety selling point, for last four years. Endorsed by Greater Manchester Police and local schools, he uses the karts and track, along with road markings and miniature traffic lights, to teach children about road safety from a ‘driver point of view.’
Now, with the help of the Hub, Matthew has been able to move into permanent premises in Salford and expand his operation to include sensory rooms for disabled children alongside the go-karts and traditional soft play area.
Matthew first approached the Hub for help with several issues, including marketing the business, the best way to connect with relevant groups such as special needs schools and finding suitable premises. He also wanted to investigate the best way to protect the copyright of the four road safety characters.
Matthew met with Growth Advisor Michael Hadfield, who contacted a number of external partners to help with this business expansion, including Bolton and Salford City Council, who were able to help with the premises.
Michael also used the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) website to find out more about the trademark protection available for the four educational characters, and worked with Matthew to find an artist to carry out the artwork for the new premises.
In addition, the Hub has also provided information on PR and marketing to help give the business maximum visibility for the launch of the new centre in August 2015.
Speaking at the launch, Salford councillor Peter Dobbs praised Matthew for creating a unique new centre for children that was already much appreciated by the local community.
And Matthew adds: "I have been working on this project for about four years using a variety of different sources. The help I’ve received from the Business Growth Hub has been fantastic and has put us well on the way to achieving my goal and really growing the business."
Michael is similarly upbeat about the business’s potential. “Koolkarts is a great success story. Matthew’s tenacity will only see him move onwards and upwards and he’s already talking about opening new centres, and if this one is anything to go by, they’ll be a rip-roaring success as well.”
“Matthew has some ambitious and exciting plans and we were happy to provide the additional support."