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Innovation

Swifty kick-start their dream of going global

Overview:

Swifty Scooters is a family-run Salford business set up in 2010 by design entrepreneurs Jason and Camilla Iftakhar.

The company has developed three adult “kick-scooters” to date including Swifty One – which is a foldable for the urban commuter, Swifty Zero – which targets the fitness and lifestyle market, and Swifty Air – which has been specifically engineered for the adventure market, allowing users to go off road.

As a brand which focuses on innovation and the high build quality of their scooters to maximise rider experience, Swifty Scooters are the markets most desirable product.

The team do all their own design and engineering at their headquarters in Salford, and have gained notoriety through their collaborations with top brands including Paul Smith and The Conran Shop, and can count celebrities such as Taylor Swift and Kirstie Allsopp among its clientele. 

The challenge:

From the outset, Jason and Camilla’s vision has been to turn Swifty into a global brand. They first turned to the Hub in 2015 when they were referred to our innovation specialists for support that would help them develop their business model and speed up the Research & Development process.

They also teamed up with Sarah Brennan and Ian Dixon, two of the Hub’s finance specialists, specifically to look at possible new funding options.

Sarah explains: “We considered a number of routes and the business decided that equity investment was the best one for them. They were supported through the whole process by the North West Business Angel Network (NWBA), who helped build their confidence by ensuring they were investment ready, fine-tuning their pitch and coaching them in how to deliver it and respond to questions.”

The solution:

Following a successful presentation to business angels, Ian introduced the company to an innovative Chinese investment platform seeking to engage with Greater Manchester businesses.

Discussions resulted in an invitation to pitch directly to Chinese investors in Beijing and Shanghai, leading to Swifty securing investment.

Ian commented: “Interest levels amongst Chinese investors in supporting UK businesses are at record levels. Traditionally, the difficulty has been in linking investors with opportunities.

“We are delighted that the NWBA is innovating in forming partnerships with emerging investment platforms enabling entrepreneurs to access new sources of funding”

With the help of GC International Trade, Swifty has also expanded their exports, with new partners in Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan since a successful trade mission to Asia.

Their scooters have gained notoriety around the world as they continue to lead the market with their desirable scooters with 16-inch pneumatic wheels. With sales continuing to grow, the duo recently obtained further funding to invest in their new product line of kids scooters.

Jason said: “With the support of the Hub, the business is now entering an exciting new phase and the investment will allow us to grow the team, launch new products and continue to reach out to new global markets.

“And of course it’s great news locally too, because as we grow we can continue to take on more people and create more jobs.

“We now have a brilliant team of five, and work closely with the design and engineering department at Manchester Metropolitan University.”

Swifty was also awarded “First Runner-up” at Venturefest 2016, alongside some of the region’s most exciting emerging businesses.

Jason and Camilla will also be embarking on the Hub’s executive development programme, an in-depth service which supports senior managers to develop their leadership skills across multiple key business areas.

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