The past few years have been challenging, there is no denying that. Businesses across the world had to pivot operations overnight and many found that the day-to-day operations were their only focus. Long-term planning and strategy were put on hold and many businesses simply focussed on staying afloat.
When Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) launched the Growth Grant scheme in November 2020, ILUX was one of the first to successfully apply and has been a true success story, creating new jobs, developing a new internal training academy and new business acquisition.
The Growth Grant fund was part of the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme offered small and medium-sized businesses operating in Huntingdonshire a grant of up to £50,000 to support businesses that may have had their growth plans delayed as a result of the pandemic restrictions.
ILUX, grew through the pandemic. James Tilbury, CEO commented: “Our clients suddenly had to equip their staff in a totally new way. Working from home wasn’t the “norm” as it is now. Some business owners were overwhelmed by problems that, with planning, could have been prevented. Something as simple as having the right number of licenses for your VPN for the number of remote workers could have prevented issues. But the lockdown caught many businesses off guard. We were in a fortunate position to be able to respond quickly to our client’s demands. Our team worked tirelessly to get clients up and running securely and efficiently.”
The ILUX management team saw the grant as a real opportunity to continue this growth and set even more ambitious objectives and goals.
They used the investment to develop the sales and marketing team. They created a new Marketing Manager role in April 2022. They have invested in a new Sales Manager and are growing their Account Management Team. The Service Desk team doubled and they recently recruited a new Head of Service Delivery.
The company is also embracing a move toward a more sustainable future, investing in a new fleet of hybrid company cars for its Field Service Engineers.
Clare Elliott, Chief Financial Officer said: “The Growth Grant gave us the confidence to be far more ambitious than we perhaps would have been in such an uncertain economic climate. We had a growth strategy in place, but the investment from HDC meant that we could turbo boost our plans.”
Ali Gamble, Marketing Manager at ILUX, one of the newly created positions under the scheme, said: “Joining the business was a huge opportunity for me to make a real difference. The company isn’t afraid to change and is agile enough to embrace new ways of thinking. We constantly strive to be better, improve our service, to develop new ways of working for ourselves and our clients. It’s an exciting business and the support of HDC means that we are in a position to invest in that.”
The scheme was designed to support businesses until 2024 and ILUX still has many more objectives to reach.
James Tilbury expanded on this: “Our sales and marketing teams already have plans to expand in the next 12-18 months as we attract more new clients.
We also have plans to develop our technical team, adding specialist 3rd line analysts, technical project managers and a hardware specialist. Our Finance and Administration team are expanding and upskilling and our field service team continues to grow as our client base expands across the UK.
The continued support of HDC, and indeed central Government, means that we can not only set ambitious targets but achieve them faster than before.”
HDC’s Executive Councillor for Jobs, Economy and Housing, Cllr Sam Wakeford, said: “The growth grant scheme has allowed for some exciting and innovative work to take place across our district and ILUX is a shining example of that. Awarding around £1 million to local businesses has allowed them explore opportunities that they wouldn’t normally have been able to, given the circumstances, and the strides that ILUX have made are testament to the importance and success of local businesses with their ambitious approach to utilising the funding.”
Economic Development Manager for Huntingdonshire District Council, Nykki Rogers, said: “The implementation of the growth grant scheme across Huntingdonshire was a key priority for us as it has enabled businesses across the district to accelerate their plans for growth and create jobs in the local economy. We are looking forward to supporting ILUX and their exciting future here in Huntingdonshire.”