Devon is a great county – I love living here. But whatever the spin says, it can be as tough to get a new business going in Devon as anywhere. I am always in awe of people who decide to go for it and I will happily lend a helping hand where I can. In recent months I’ve given a little boost to a few start-ups though affordable, well-targeted PR and consultancy.
Most recently, a local lad decided to open a barbers shop in Ottery St Mary. Matt is only 19 and I went along to look at the shop with my son in tow. After 20 minutes of chatting and a cracking haircut for my 12 year old, I had what I needed to write the news up for the Ottery Herald who kindly featured it with a mention on the front page and the full story on page 3. It’s not world-shattering news but hey, from small acorns. Matt tells me he has been really busy since, and my son loves his new style!
Other start-ups I’ve worked with this year include Baking Matters in South Devon. John Royce needed help getting his message out – he provides courses in what he terms ‘real baking’ as opposed to ‘celebrity baking’. I worked on Baking Matters’ Twitter presence and from this John was asked by South West Camper Hire to go along to the Big Cake Show at Westpoint to give demos of camper cooking. Press
I was contacted by Andy Stapley from Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) South West for advice about promoting courses that help people and employers to support those with poor mental or emotional health. After finding out more about what MHFA does to help people with emotional issues I wrote a heartfelt press release. It is clearly close to many people’s hearts as the story went into all regional newspapers and online. Press
Although this type of work is inevitably short-term, I believe that it is worthwhile to support new business, however small. It makes for good karma!