Stepwell is an innovative social enterprise, committed to improving health, well-being and employment opportunities for vulnerable people living in the Inverclyde area. Stepwell operated a takeaway food outlet in the Oak Mall shopping centre in Greenock, however, a change in the customer base led them to rethink their business plan.
Their vision was to create a café/ bistro in the shopping centre, serving homemade, fresh food whilst offering employment and training opportunities to vulnerable people.
The loan and grant package of £60,000 from Start & Grow allowed the vision to become a reality. The money has allowed them to refurbish the expanded retail unit, marketing and provide working capital to assist with additional stock and overheads for the first year of operation.
Start & Grow matched the ambitions of Stepwell; they had confidence in their business model, they believed they could pay back the loan, make a profit whilst delivering social benefit. The loan element of the package allows them to direct money to where the business needs funding, rather than being constrained by the restrictions of grant conditions.
The grant funding, provides a buffer, and takes the pressure off the first year of operation allowing them to train and employ a member of staff.
The Start & Grow assessment process is thorough and robust and allows Resilient to develop a detailed knowledge of the operation, understanding the business and its objectives. Stepwell felt this in-depth understanding, was key to developing a positive relationship.
Stepwell is committed to creating local jobs for local people and they are passionate about food and promoting Inverclyde as ‘a great place to work, live and relax’. They have combined their passion in “Fresh” creating a thriving business, investing in people, in jobs and reinvesting the money back into the local economy. Whilst subtly promoting healthy eating through a tasty menu choice.
It may be early days for this new venture but with the director continually looking for new ways to support the local economy and reinvest, it certainly is only the beginning of the story.