Grant support helps puts mattress manufacturing venture on path to growth
A manufacturer of pressure relieving products used in the care industry and by the National Health Service is on course for £2 million turnover just eighteen months after the business, set up by entrepreneurs Neil Smith and John Kay started trading.
Herida Healthcare, based at Copley Hill trading estate, manufactures a range of specialised ‘dynamic’ and ‘static’ mattresses and cushions designed to relieve the pressure and friction which can cause pressure ulcers – bed sores – for patients who remain bed-bound for any length of time.
With grant support from the ERDF-funded AD:VENTURE programme, set up to support early stage businesses and help them grow, the company has invested in new manufacturing resource planning equipment, including bar coding and scanning items, which allows full traceability of materials and is a key requirement for suppliers to the NHS.
Specialised ‘bar tacking’ equipment, used to stitch handles onto the mattresses, has also been purchased and a state of the art decontamination unit for cleaning mattress and cushion covers and cells has been installed.
The grant funding, totalling £6,675, is part of a package of support the company has accessed through the LEP Growth Service, designed to help SMEs tap into the broad range of business advice and support programmes available in the Leeds City Region.
Herida Healthcare also received a £5,000 grant from the Digital Enterprise programme, together with support through the Manufacturing Growth Programme towards consultancy costs involved in achieving the ISO 14001 environmental management standard and the latest ISO 9001 (2015) standard.
Managing director Neil Smith said: “The support we’ve received has been fantastic and has really helped us move the business forward in a number of key areas. We expect to over exceed the turnover target and indeed profitability budgets that we originally set for this year and need to recruit new staff in a number of areas as a result.”
Two new production operatives are set to join the company following completion of the investment and up to seven new jobs, including roles in sales and business development, should be created over the next 12 months.
Herida Healthcare’s innovative product range has won the endorsement of clinicians and industry professionals and is already attracting a great deal of interest from overseas. The company recently shipped its first container to Melbourne and repeat orders could be worth up to £0.7 million per annum.
Operations director John Kay said: “We saw a great opportunity here and we are investing a lot of our own money, energy and time in developing what we think can be a really successful venture.
“But managing cashflow, at the same time as you’re investing in and growing the business is always a challenge, particularly when you are in the early stages. So, the grants and other support we’ve received has made a real difference.”
Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, speaking on behalf of the AD:VENTURE programme said: “Supporting SMEs and new business ventures are the real lifeblood of the Leeds City Region economy – it’s where new jobs and new prosperity comes from so it’s vital that we support them. Relatively small amounts of financial support in the right place and the right time can make a huge difference and help accelerate the growth of businesses like Herida Healthcare.”