An award-winning business in the Coventry and Warwickshire region has urged fellow firms to tap into support available as it targets £4 million in turnover.
Purple Planet Packaging supplies sustainable food and drinks packaging to a range of sectors including schools, the hospitality trade, and directly to consumers.
The company, based at the Seven Stars Industrial Estate in Coventry, works with manufacturers and suppliers to ‘close the loop’ as the vast majority of the 450 products it supplies are biodegradable material that can be composted.
The firm was bought by husband-and-wife team Mark and Joanna Farr in 2019 as a lifestyle business but the Covid lockdowns – and the sudden demand for takeaway packaging – saw an immediate and unexpected boom.
The couple, who have two young children, had to quickly adapt despite having no prior knowledge of how to run a business.
They looked into what support was available within the region and are now working with Steve Tipson from the Business Ready programme as they look to reach £4 million turnover by 2024.
Business Ready delivers support to expanding companies managed by the business support team at the University of Warwick Science Park and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council as part of the CW Business: Start, Grow & Scale Programme.
“The support we’ve had from Business Ready has been absolutely priceless,” said Mark. “We had not long bought the business when we went into the pandemic and when demand increased we just had to roll with it.
“We did everything to fulfill our orders and make sure that we kept customers happy but we were working really long hours and it takes its toll, especially with two young children in the house.
“We’ve had great support from lots of organisations – it really is out there if businesses are willing to look for it and ask for help.
“Working with Business Ready is helping to put things in place such as policies and procedures that we just didn’t have the awareness of before. You don’t know what you don’t know.
“Not only that, Steve and the team have some amazing contacts so he has put us in touch with different advisers who have been able to give us information and advice on matters such as HR and IP.
“I’d urge any business out there to get in touch and find out what help is on offer.”
As well as receiving one-to-one support from Steve, the company has also accessed online workshops on social media, accessing finance, and marketing to increase its knowledge of how to run the business effectively.
Steve said: “Mark and Joanna are developing an amazing business and it is not unusual to see a start-up grow very quickly without having everything in place in the background.
“Business Ready is there to help businesses when they hit some of those roadblocks to growth and help them to get processes in place to overcome them. Not only that, it’s about giving the business owners the room to have an overview of what they are doing rather than rushing around day to day making sure orders are being completed and cash is coming in.”
Cllr Martin Watson, portfolio holder for economy with Warwickshire County Council, said: “The Business Ready support in this instance was bespoke as it addressed specific needs brought about by the Covid pandemic. As well as supporting a local business, it also ties in with the council’s commitment to sustainability as so much of the packaging produced is biodegradable. I’m delighted that our support has been so helpful.”
Notes to Editor
The project is receiving up to £3.6 Million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
For more information on the Business Ready programme and how to apply, please contact us at:
Phone: 024 7632 3121