Cardea-Solutions UK Ltd designs and manufactures safety and security products, including an award winning Fingershield door safety finger guard, a British standard approved window restrictor and a police-approved window security shutter.
The business has international reach and supplies schools, leisure attractions, healthcare premises and commercial buildings, counting the Imperial War Museum London, Virgin Active Leisure and the Travelodge Group amongst its customers.
The business has operated for 19 years, employing 15 people at its factory in Trafford Park.
"Our business has really benefitted from being able to work with specialists in such different fields. It is fantastic that SMEs can access this support, at no cost to their business, from GC Business Growth Hub."Paul O'Carroll, Managing Director, Cardea-Solutions UK Ltd
Cardea-Solutions had growth ambitions to launch a new product and enter new domestic and international markets. Paul O’Carroll, Managing Director and Claire Lepine, Commercial Director approached GC Business Growth Hub in 2016 looking for support.
Paul O’Carroll said:
“Our focus as a business is firmly on innovation and we have built an international reputation as a quality producer of pioneering and competitively priced products. We had developed a prototype which had potential to open up new markets for us, but we needed to invest significant time and finance in order to achieve this.”
Paul and Claire were quickly enrolled on the Executive Development Programme (EDP), which works with businesses to enhance leadership skills to support the demands of a growing business.
“Since the EDP workshops and coaching sessions I have deepened my skills as a business leader, and the impact of this can be seen first-hand.
“Operationally we have defined the roles and responsibilities of the senior management team, introduced new processes and procedures and reviewed our approach to people management. This has led to greater autonomy for our business leaders, and increased focus and motivation amongst our workforce.
“The EDP programme also helped us to review our strategic planning process. This was pivotal in us developing our growth plan and assessing our business development opportunities.”
Jacqui Anderson, their EDP Advisor, recognised that the business would benefit from specialist advice and referred the business to the Hub’s Manufacturing and Digital teams.
Paul met with Andy Hinton, Specialist Manufacturing Advisor, to discuss their new product. Andy recommended that the business apply for a grant from the Manufacturing Growth Fund to bring in a tooling design expert to develop the impression tools which would be used in the manufacture of this product.
The business was awarded a grant of £5,580 towards the project cost and appointed another Hub client Wheatley Plastics to deliver the project. Andy said:
“It was fantastic to see two local firms collaborating on this project. This is just one of the opportunities for SMEs working with GC Business Growth Hub.”
Simultaneously, their Digital Growth advisor worked with the business to help them reach new markets. He facilitated the introduction of a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and reviewed their website’s Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), providing keyword research analysis to increase their organic website traffic.
Working with the Hub's Innovation team they introduced Cardea-Solutions to the University of Salford and secured a Student BIP Placement (Business Innovation Project) to support their Export Strategy in March 2017.This resulted in the business launching a new Amazon store to sell their products online.
Cardea also received support from the Department for International Trade Team to develop their online market entry strategy into the USA. This included advice, support and guidance on issues such as Nexus Sales Tax (U.S), FBA Amazon (USA), selling on U.S emarketplaces, U.S Digital Marketing Strategy, which ultimately helped Cardea successfully launch into the market and increase their online export sales into the USA
“The support from the Hub and the International Trade Team has been vital for Cardea-Solutions. By moving quickly to apply for the grant, receiving the financial support and identifying the right supplier for the project, we will soon begin manufacture and secure lucrative new contracts in Scandinavia and Singapore.
“Since working with the Hub we have applied for a KiT patent for the product and we have taken on three new employees, including a new Business Development Executive to help us grow in new markets.
“Our business has really benefitted from being able to work with specialists in such different fields. It is fantastic that SMEs can access this support at no cost to their business, from the Hub”.