SMEs share success secrets ahead of first Venturefest WM

Created by Jules Coleman, Alex Depledge and Tom Nimmo in 2012, is a free online service enabling busy home-owners to find local, pre-vetted cleaners.

Since launching, the company has been named Start-Up of the Year at the Tech City Awards in 2013 and raised £3.6 million in investment to expand across the UK and Europe. The company has been operating in Birmingham since 2014.

Jules Coleman, Co-founder of, said: “Building a good network of people around you is crucial as a fledgling business. Learning from people who are 12 to 18 months ahead of you can genuinely help you to leapfrog the competition.”

“Nobody’s expecting you to make huge profits from day one, but make sure you’re not reliant on your accountant. Having an understanding of your product’s financial structure may seem common sense, but it’s surprising how many companies trip up by not having a sensible vision in the first place.”


Rapid English

Linguistics specialist Rapid English was founded in 2010 by Managing Director David Hore. The firm – which recently expanded into Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter – assists native speakers who have fallen behind with basic literacy skills through software, training and paper-based materials.

Rapid English now works with over 60 services across the public sector in the UK – from the education industry through to the criminal justice system.

David Hore, Managing Director of Rapid English, added: “Networking can be incredibly useful, but when it comes to putting down some money, people value substance over rhetoric.”

“If you can demonstrate profitability prior to investment, it gives you a much stronger starting position with any investor. If an investor likes you but you have nothing to show off, they will end up calling more of the shots than you might like. Try to keep control of as much as possible in the early stages of your venture.”

Part of a national initiative, Venturefest WM invites the area’s small business owners to meet with a national audience of investors. Local entrepreneurs will participate in a programme of in-depth workshops, seminars and lectures to gain practical advice, contacts and funding options to help them raise their profile and grow.

The day-long exhibition is free to attend. Entrepreneurs from all business sectors – including science, technology and the creative industries – are encouraged to get involved. To view the full programme and to register, visit