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A loan from ART (Aston Reinvestment Trust) saved the day for Solihull-based consultancy Executive Playground®, enabling the company to make use of a £30K grant to develop an innovative online version of its successful TeamVention® solution.
TeamVention® offers an innovative way for organisations to engage employees, by encouraging them to work in collaborative teams to develop solutions to organisational challenges and learn new skills.
Anne Wilkinson, founder of Executive Playground®, explains: “Without ART, we were in danger of not being able to use the £30K grant we had been awarded from the Advantage Proof of Concept Fund. The money had to be spent first and reclaimed afterwards. I approached my bank for a £10K short term overdraft to help fund the cashflow, but they refused. I applied to another bank, which procrastinated for six weeks before also refusing. By this time two of the six months allocated to use the proof of concept funding had elapsed and the whole project was threatened. We were a good customer with a good track record but the banks saw it as ‘high risk’.”
With years of business experience under her belt and support from her NHS clients, Anne was confident that an online version of TeamVention® would work. “It has the potential to transform the way organisations engage employees and develop solutions to organisational challenges, achieving significant efficiency, financial and morale benefits,” she says. “It was very frustrating to have the backing to develop the concept but not the banks’ support to make use of the grant.”
Anne met Steve Walker, Chief Executive of ART, at a business networking event. “I asked ART for help and they listened,” she says. “They understood the business opportunity. The application process was straightforward and the money was in our bank account within two weeks.”
Executive Playground® aims to attract investors and is conducting Beta trials in preparation for a full commercial launch. “The feedback I’ve had so far suggests TeamVention® online has the potential to succeed on a global scale,” says Anne. “I can’t thank the ART team enough for their support, without them we wouldn’t be in this exciting position.”
Steve Walker comments: “Supporting cashflow and giving small businesses the chance to invest and grow at a stage when the banks can’t help is just what we’re here for. In this case we lent on our own, but sometimes we lend alongside the banks making up the last vital piece in a package of finance.”
Executive Playground® is keen to hear from organisations interested in piloting the TeamVention® solution. Beta clients will benefit from solving an organisational challenge or developing an opportunity with free consultancy, training and use of the TeamVention® software in return for their feedback. More information is available at http://teamvention.co.uk. Anyone interested should contact Anne Wilkinson on 07968 134326.