How it all started
The Clyde & Tay Group was formed in 2015 by myself, Paul Caruana, after being made redundant from the Oil & Gas industry in Aberdeen.
After being informed of my redundancy, at the same time as my wife who also worked for the company, when I arrived at work in the morning , I drove straight home and an hour later The Clyde & Tay Group Ltd was incorporated.
At the time I was a non-executive (unpaid) member of the Decom North Sea board of directors and I was looking to provide services to the oil & gas decommissioning industry however it became apparent that this would be a much longer term opportunity and therefore I took a step back to look at other opportunities, both within and outwith the oil & gas industry.
What happened next?
In 2016, after a number of discussions, William Blake joined me as a Director and shareholder within The Clyde & Tay Group Ltd. The goal was to develop a business, or group of businesses, which could support clients in a number of ways including:
- equipment for their business
- staff for their business
After a significant amount of research we realised that the first step would be to get our business authorised with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Although this was not a legal requirement for dealing with business to business funding, it was the appropriate thing to do and after several months of work we became authorised, firstly through a principle firm, Product Partnerships Ltd, and then directly in our own right.
This authorisation allowed us to broker finance for both individuals and businesses alike and we developed a large panel of finance providers. Once this was in place our first task was to generate revenue from the new authorisation and Compare Vehicles was born!
Compare Vehicles provided car finance, sourcing and leasing services for businesses and personal customers and is still an integral part of The Clyde & Tay Group Ltd and continues to service customers.
The next chapter
In October 2018 Will and I were approached to assist one of our clients with their sales and marketing, mainly looking at sales of their advertising space. After agreeing to assist, and looking to see what other potential clients there were we decided to start PWK Sales & Marketing Ltd.
One of the main drivers for launching the new company, which at the current time is owned entirely by The Clyde & Tay Group Ltd, was our interest in using Augmented Reality (AR) software to assist clients increase their brand exposure and ultimately their sales.
PWK Sales & Marketing is about to launch their AR offering to clients and has agreed to support the Aberdeen charity Charlie House over the course of the year by integrating AR into their marketing materials and using it to support their events.
With the introduction of PWK Sales & Marketing, the identification of significant
opportunities with AR and our growing client base, we decided to expand the team within the business and we were delighted when Susan Caddell agreed to join us to help develop the business. Susan brought with her significant experience across a number of industries and a huge amount of personal contacts. Susan quickly became an invaluable member of the team and was promoted to Director within PWK Sales & Marketing just before Christmas 2018.
The addition of Susan to the senior team gives us combined experience of over 70 years in multiple industries and it was as a result of these developments in the business that our vision emerged...The C&T Start-Up Hub.
Our 'idea' is simple...
We want to help people from all backgrounds start-up their own businesses, support them and ultimately help make their businesses a success.
This simple idea will generate a ripple effect that will create a large number of jobs, help up skill both young people and experienced individuals looking to change course and drive the local economy ensuring a diverse, sustainable, business community.
The hub will, and does to an extent, provide the following for new businesses and start-ups:
- Management Support
- Accounting and administrative support including paying accountancy fees.
- Website, social media and SEO
- Marketing and branding
- Digital marketing support
- IT and infrastructure including telecoms
- Sales/business development team
- Mentorship from industry leading figures
- Training for the owner and staff, including Graduate Apprenticeships
- Funding support both directly and in conjunction with other bodies
This is not an exhaustive list but does cover many of the most expensive and difficult parts of developing any business. Removing the financial burden on a new business will give it the best possible opportunity to succeed and employ other members of the community.
Although open to everyone the hub has been developed specifically to help the following individuals:
- Young people (12-25)
- Older people (60+)
- Disabled (learning)
- Disabled (physical)
- Long-term unemployed
- Living in poverty
- Offenders and ex-offenders
Whether it be through helping set-up their own business or through employment in one of the businesses we set-up and support, the long term benefits to all of the individuals can be considered immeasurable not to mention the benefits to the wider community.
The idea in practice
The C&T Start-Up Hub has already started!
In December 2018 we were approached by Adam Bell, an extremely talented digital marketeer, who was returning to Aberdeen and had just set up his own digital marketing agency, moment.agency. It became very apparent that Adam had what it took to be extremely successful, he was a subject matter expert and had worked with some of the best marketing agencies and biggest global companies like Microsoft.
Adam had done a lot of the business planning and had ambitious targets including the employment of eight people and a turnover in excess of £250,000 in the first year of trading. Although ambitious it is entirely achievable given Adam's determination, knowledge and experience.
After some very in depth discussion we all identified that moment.agency would benefit from the provision of support mentioned earlier and from becoming part of The Clyde & Tay Group. It was agreed that The Clyde & Tay Group would take a share of his business in return for our support and help.
moment.agency is now an integral part of The Clyde & Tay Group and Adam is working closely with all members of the team and his business is developing well without the worry of over burdening himself financially. Adam has also maintained the majority share in the business (substantial majority).
Our vision is again very simple, we see C&T Hubs located in all major cities across the UK helping individuals achieve personal success, whether that be through setting up their own business with us or gaining employment with one of our partner businesses with everything that can bring.
By supporting ten businesses in each major city we can create thousands of jobs and as a result put millions of pounds back in to the communities in which they are located.
How will we use the money we raise to achieve our vision
All of the money we raise will be used to support new businesses, initially in Aberdeen and then other cities, who have growth potential when provided with access to the services I described earlier. The Clyde & Tay Group will invest in the company both financially and through our own support in return for an agreed share of the business.
We will then work with the company to develop the business, employ staff and become successful. When the business is in a position to return the investment they will do so and the funds will then be used to support another new business. The Clyde & Tay Group would retain their shareholding in the business.
The money raised would also allow us to source and open new offices in other cities, enabling us to engage with more businesses and create more jobs.
The money will continually be reinvested and The Clyde & Tay Group will use some of their profits to supplement and increase the investment fund.
We want to provide what no other investor, bank or government agency can....