Warwickshire firm moves into new home and is on target for £1m turnover after receiving support

Pictured (left to right): Steve Thomas, Tim Powell, Dirk Schafer (Business Ready), Tom Hawthornthwaite, Donna McCarthy, Steve Hawthornthwaite, Paul Brown, Rob Harris, Toby Farmer


A Warwickshire company which supplies ground screws as an alternative to concrete foundations – and counts Manchester United and McDonald’s as clients – is on target to hit £1 million in annual revenue after moving into a new HQ in Ryton.

The Ground Screw Centre was established in 2016 by directors Steve Hawthornthwaite and Paul Brown experienced significant growth for its range of ground Screws, brackets, and self-installation equipment over the last 12 months – matching the boom in sales for sheds, garden rooms, offices, decking and other small structures such as signage and fencing.

Over the past year, the company has been supported by the University of Warwick Science Park’s Business Ready Programme and turnover has jumped from £185,000 to £875,000.

Business Ready is a program that delivers support to expanding businesses 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 Program.

The company was introduced to Business Ready when they brought in consultant Tim Powell – who previously ran the Science Park’s Access to Finance & Minerva business angels’ network– to advise on growth.

Tim’s advice, the Business Ready assistance, and support from CW LEP Growth Hub alongside the rise in popularity of DIY sheds and garden rooms has seen the company grow from three to nine staff and move from the Innovation Centre at Stoneleigh Park into its own base in Ryton.

Steve said: “We have grown dramatically over the past year and that is down to a number of factors.

“Our screws are a more environmentally friendly, efficient and cost-effective alternative to concrete foundations.

“They can be used as a base for garden rooms, sheds and fencing in the domestic market and they can be installed by the end-user themselves. The past year-and-a-half has seen an upturn in the installation of garden rooms and sheds on a DIY basis and we have benefitted from that as our products are faster, more efficient and a cleaner solution.

“We also have business customers and that ranges from Premier League clubs such as Manchester United using our screws for ball-stopping nets through to McDonald’s using them for digital signs.

“As well as the market shifting, the introduction of Tim to the business, now as chairman, coupled with the support we’ve had from Business Ready, particularly being able to access skills and expertise from one of their digital marketing consultants has helped us achieve such strong growth.”

Dirk Schafer, business adviser at the University of Warwick Science Park, said: “The beauty of the Business Ready program is that it is not prescriptive, we find out what a business needs for its next stage of growth and we support it appropriately.

“As a result, the team at The Ground Screw Centre have been able to dip in and out of support when they’ve needed it and benefited from the link with the University of Warwick Science Park as the company explore the development of new product innovations.

“It’s a business with great potential for further growth and we are delighted to have supported them in their expansion.”

*The Ground Screw Centre team will be in action on a DIY SOS Children in Need special on November 16.

Notes to editors:

The CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale project is receiving up to £2.6m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (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