We spoke to Epic Tales CEO Chip Colquhoun – who found he couldn’t have managed to bounce back post-pandemic without the help and input of our Start and Grow Programme
Epic Tales, based in Huntingdon, helps to enhance children’s education through storytelling. What Chip has found over a decade of me doing this, is that by sharing stories with children, you boost their confidence, you boost their attainment, and you improve their well-being. And that is like the holy trinity of getting them to be the best, most successful human beings they can be, certainly through their school years, and probably well beyond. Epic Tales was formed in 2019, to train others and expand the team, so that they could get more children benefiting from their services.
Chip explained that like many other businesses, he needed to recover from the impact of the pandemic – in fact, probably more than most, because the pandemic entirely wiped out his revenue for just over a year. So, it was fortunate for Epic Tales that the Start and Grow programme launched at the start of 2022, which Chip believes was just the kind of thing that he needed at the right time.
He says ‘because of the pandemic coming when it did, and us being so young an organisation when it first hit, we haven’t got much of a turnover history. I think in our first year, we had something like £50k, but even with the bounce-back loan, that’s only going to get you a maximum of something like £12K. In the COVID years themselves we were making turnover of less than £16k”.
He explains this has made it very difficult to get funding of any kind. Also, over the course of the pandemic, his company’s capacity had been reduced to pretty much just himself, as he has to let all of his staff go. So, he is doing everything himself: the development, the delivery and the marketing. This meant that that doing something like a grant application form on top of that was a huge ask, especially when it involves things like cash flows and business plans. However, with the help of the Start and Grow team, he was able to submit a grant application, and he says:
“The Start and Grow Business Advisors came back requiring tweaks to my grant application here and there – but they were actually offering to make some of those tweaks for us. They were so keen to make sure we benefited from the support, they really put that effort in to help me”.
Chip was successful in gaining help from the Start and Grow Programme, with his business plan and then in submitting his grant application. He thinks that without the help of the grant and support, he probably wouldn’t have been able to keep the business running. He says:
“The support was brilliant – they had a workshop to let us know exactly what the grant application looked like, and the sort of things that needed to go in it”.
He aims to promote Epic Tale’s resources to a brand-new audience– and that’s what the grant from the Start and Grow programme will enable him to do. Chip says:
“We were thinking, how can we reach this new audience in an era where social media is absolutely clogged up? And the grant is going to hugely help with that, because it’s allowing us to get some expert marketing professionals in to design a campaign, to put the message out there, it’s helping us to identify platforms that are going to be the most targeted for this particular product”.
The desired outcome is for more people to experience the product and enjoy the same kind of impacts that their existing client families have already. His aim is to grow Epic Tales and thereby grow the education of more kids around the country – maybe even beyond!
Chip’s final words on the Start and Grow team:
“They were absolutely brilliant. They were so keen to make sure we benefited from all the support available, they really put that effort in to help me and my business”.
How you can get support for your business
You can get 121 support from a business advisor, who can also help you with a grant application. It is all completely free as part of the Start and Grow Programme. Click here to find out more or fill in our really simple form to register your interest and one of advisors will be in touch to see how we can help. The programme runs until the end of June – so make sure you get the boost your business needs.