Shout About Suffolk – A brief Introduction

Launch Day Has Arrived

Richard Croft, Toby Durrant and Paddy Bishopp are united by shared experience of having launched their own businesses, learned by mistakes, and travelled the challenging entrepreneurial path to success.

Today, they share a desire to pass on the benefit of their experiences, and to pour their passion and enthusiasm into helping Suffolk entrepreneurs achieve. Their vision is to provide the kind of mentoring and support network which would have been so useful in their early professional lives, and which can put a new generation on to the right path in an increasingly complex business world. This motivation and aspiration has given way to the launch of Shout About Suffolk – The Suffolk Business Start Up Lab.

While this concept has been discussed in the past by many organisations and individuals within the county, it is finally being made possible through the inspired thinking of this trio.

Richard, through his success in business, has very generously financed the launch of The Lab and has tasked Toby and Paddy with ‘making it happen’.

Self-Taught, like minded with a passion for giving back, Toby and Paddy see The Lab as the perfect way to work alongside entrepreneurs, pass on their knowledge, and witness the birth of great new enterprises in the region.

Shout About Suffolk will help drive innovation, encourage entrepreneurship, and all the while promote the wealth of talent across the county.

The Lab will house between six and eight start-up companies at any one time.

These businesses will be supported through initial funding, in conjunction with mentoring and back office IT support.

This is a pathway to either self-sufficiency or next stage investment. Through the incubation process the Shout About Suffolk team can truly accelerate the process and build a platform for success.

Upstairs from The Lab, will be The Hub.

This social enterprise is a collaborative and creative space designed for up to 20 entrepreneurs who have the seeds of a business idea or already run a start-up/small business and want to have like-minded people around them. They desire an innovative environment.  

Incorporated within this element, the team will deliver a Mentoring and Networking Club where members get access to mentoring and networking sessions, as well as being part of a community.

For those who do not have physical space in The Hub, there is also an on-line membership, with access to all the mentoring support and Shout About Suffolk’s online learning Library.

Through a Corporate Sponsorship Programme, 10 bursaries are being made available to future entrepreneurs with limited finances but a great business idea. Beneficiaries can get free membership to The Hub.

Shout About Suffolk is very much about social enterprise. It has an ethos based in the provision of nurturing support and the celebration of talent.

We are fortunate to already have secured Birketts and Ensors – two extremely successful corporates – as sponsors for 2019 bursary places.

All Lab Entrepreneurs get one to one support from the Corporate Partners and The Hub and online community are offered fast track access to them.

Finally, Shout About Suffolk has a ‘Young Enterprise Support Programme’ and will be working with schools and Higher Education to promote Entrepreneurialism and introduce the skill sets required and the confidence to look at their business ideas.

We are excited by the future potential of this new concept for the county and hope to positively touch many lives across the region.

Low-abv brewery Big Drop secures funding to move production to continental Europe

Ipswich-based low-abv brewery Big Drop has just received £500k in private investments and is setting its sights on increasing its hold on the market. The investment will allow Big Drop to finance its marketing department and augment its production, some of which will move to mainland Europe to protect itself against the challenges of Brexit. The brewery has experienced significant growth since its foundation in 2016, thanks to increasing consumer interest in no- and low-abv drinks. In the last 12 months alone Big Drop has enjoyed an impressive 775% growth in sales. The business predicts an annual revenue of £1m by the end of 2019. The principal investor in this most recent funding push is Nick Heath, co-founder of leading business utility switching service Make It Cheaper. ‘The latest investment will unlock more resources, production efficiencies and sales potential both in the UK and globally,’ commented Big Drop founder Rob Fink. ‘There’s a huge potential out there for us and we’re only just at the beginning.’ Big Drop is also investigating the possibility of brewing in Canada, as the company’s beers are already available in the Canadian market. By establishing production facilities overseas, Big Drop plans to meet North America’s high demand for low-abv beers while mitigating its carbon footprint.

New start up lab will give entrepreneurs in Suffolk something to shout about

Witness The Birth Of ‘Shout About’


THREE successful East Anglian entrepreneurs with a passion for celebrating Suffolk talent, have collaborated to create a ‘start-up lab’ for budding business leaders in the region.

Paddy Bishopp, Toby Durrant and Richard Croft have formed Shout About Suffolk, to act as an incubator for ideas and inspiration which may lead to new companies and social enterprises.

The ‘incubate and accelerate’ model, will support school-leavers, entrepreneurs, and ‘early stage founders’ through mentoring, practical support, planning and networking.

Their base, at Riduna Park in Melton, will house the Start-Up Lab and also The Hub, a social enterprise backed by some of the biggest corporate names in the region, such as legal firm, Birketts, and accountancy business, Ensors.

The Hub will provide an inspirational and cutting-edge environment for ‘one person’ business owners who want to collaborate and benefit from a  professional mentoring and support service which has been designed to give any business the help they need to grow.

Officially commencing business on 11th January, Shout About Suffolk’s incubator lab will support an optimum number of between six and eight start-ups at any one time. It will help ideas-ready individuals to navigate business strategy, early-stage funding, and access corporate partnership opportunities.

A bursary programme will also provide free 12-month membership to The Hub for up to 20 businesses, thanks to sponsorship by a number of local corporates.

Paddy Bishopp, who is also chair of the Food and Drink Fund for the Suffolk Community Foundation, said: “We are so excited about the creation of this unique concept in Suffolk, and can’t wait to start helping school leavers, business owners and inspired individuals to find their purpose and their potential.

“So many people have ideas for social enterprises or ‘solutions-focused’ businesses, which could make a huge difference in the world, but often they struggle with knowing how to take their idea forward or how to collaborate with the right kind of people.

“Our lab will serve exactly that purpose, helping some incredibly inspirational entrepreneurs to get going with their idea in a supportive environment.”

He added: “A particular strength of our approach, which truly sets the concept apart, is our pathway to investment.

“We are going to be offering up to £30,000 no-guarantee in a start-up loan form, and then have a pathway to ‘next stage investment.

“Our aim is very much to ensure that we’re helping make Suffolk-based businesses which come through our doors into investable and sustainable companies with huge potential.

All three entrepreneurs behind the lab, say they are keen to ‘give back’ within the Suffolk community, after successful business careers in their own respective professions.

Toby, who has over 20 years of operational experience and has both founded and managed successful firms in the region and beyond, says ‘collaboration’ is very much at the heart of their thinking behind the model.

“Too often, entrepreneurs and early-stage founders find themselves stuck in a home-study or at a kitchen table, procrastinating about the next best step, or wondering where they can get the niche help they need to grow their idea,” he said.

“Our concept ensures full collaboration, in terms of sharing ideas and challenges within the Shout About Suffolk incubator itself, but also calling on an exceptional panel of experts we have already signed up to be part of our delivery. We’ve involved a wealth of talent and expertise from across many sectors, and attracted so many Suffolk professionals who are only too keen to ‘give back’ as advisors.”

He added: “We’re so proud of the infrastructure we have ready for our new founders and firms.

“They will have full access to an exceptional IT system which gives them training in, and use of, accounting and CRM software – something many early entrepreneurs can’t afford to implement.”

The founders are marking their launch with the announcement of a one-off competition to find a person under 25 who deserves a place within the incubator programme.

More details about applying will be made available in the coming weeks, with the winning person set to be announced in the last quarter of the year.

Shout About Suffolk is based in a two-storey office on Riduna Park, which is a purpose-built business park on the edge of Woodbridge. Paddy believes it is the perfect setting for the organisation’s ‘home’. “Riduna Park is such an ideal location for our entrepreneurs, and also offers a fabulous modern environment which is great for thinking time and inspiration,” he said.

“We’re really injecting lots of our personalities into the décor, and reflecting Suffolk’s landscape too. Our incubator residents and guests will see murals reflecting Rendlesham Forest, plus a fabulous grass floor and plenty of write-on wall space.”

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