Alistair Nightingale first began exploring self-employment three years ago after being forced to look for alternative employment when the haulage company he worked for closed its UK operations. He decided to try his hand at contract work and began securing short term contracts working for a number of driving agencies.
Despite securing regular work, the experience left him disillusioned and frustrated and so Alistair decided to use his knowledge of the industry to take the plunge and start his own business, delivering parcels and goods throughout the UK.
Having never run a company before, Alistair decided to contact Launchpad, a specialist support service, which provides free advice and workshops to individuals who are thinking of starting their own business within the Sheffield City Region.
Working with a business advisor, Alistair attended a number of events hosted by Doncaster Chamber of Commerce where he was able to access help to produce a business plan, allowing him to secure finance to purchase his first vehicle.
Alistair soon found his services to be in high demand, after securing an exclusive contract with a national courier delivery service covering the Doncaster area, he has been able to add a second, larger vehicle to his fleet.
Such has been the success of his fledgling business that Alistair is already hoping to recruit new drivers and is setting his sights on opening a new depot to help grow the business further.
Alistair Nightingale, founder ANDS Ltd said: “Using my own knowledge of the industry, I felt there was a need for a new business which provided reliable deliveries. My experience of working as a contracted driver left me feeling under-appreciated and under-valued. I felt there was a better way and it inspired me to develop my own business ideas.
“Although I’ve worked in the industry since leaving the army ten years ago, I never really considered running my own business, but the support I’ve received from Launchpad has helped to give me confidence in my idea and although it’s still relatively early days for me, I’m already looking for new drivers to join the business. So far, it’s been a very exciting journey and the support I’ve received from Launchpad and Doncaster Chamber helped to give me the confidence I needed to take the plunge into running my own business.”
Claire Bossward, Business and Enterprise manager at Launchpad said: “The Launchpad programme provides free support, help and advice to anyone who is thinking of starting their own business, or has started trading within the past two years. In Doncaster the service is run in conjunction with Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, who provide anyone who signs up to the programme with twelve months free membership to the Chamber, where Alistair has been able to make new business contacts by attending regular events.
“Like many entrepreneurs, Alistair had a clear idea of what he wanted to achieve with his business, but he wasn’t really sure where to turn for help. Working closely with his business advisor, he was able to secure funding to purchase his first vehicle and then add a second to his fleet, allowing him to grow and develop the business further.”
Launchpad is a unique scheme which forms part of the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub. Funded by the European Union Regional Development Fund and delivered by local authorities within the Sheffield City Region and the Princes Trust, the programme provides free help and support to budding entrepreneurs in the Sheffield City Region who are thinking of starting their own business, or have started trading within the last two years.
For more information on the Launchpad programme and how it operates throughout the Sheffield City Region, contact the SCR Growth Hub Gateway on 03330 00 00 39 or visit www.scrlaunchpad.co.uk