Manchester based marketing agency ZEAL Creative has scooped the North West Start Up Business of the Year award at the annual Start Up Loans Awards, held at City Hall in London.
ZEAL Creative received a Start Up Loan earlier this year from Start Up Now, the North West arm of the government’s national 150m Start Up Loans programme, delivered by Business Finance Solutions and is now working for brands including ASDA and Johnson & Johnson and set for a 1m turnover in its first year.
Presented by Start Up Loans chairman and former Dragon James Caan, alongside Minister of State for the Department for Business and Enterprise Matthew Hancock, the awards looked to celebrate some of the scheme’s “hugely inspiring” loan recipients which had gone on to grow sustainable, successful start-ups.
Run by Stewart Hilton and Rob White, ZEAL Creative is a marketing agency based in Manchester city centre that helps some of the world’s biggest brands to engage consumers and increase sales. Between them Stewart and Rob have over 40 years in the industry creating award winning campaigns for hundreds of famous brands. In Spring 2014 they received the backing of a Start Up Now loan and followed a long held dream to create their own agency together.
Stewart said: “Rob and I always knew we’d create our own agency and when clients started looking for faster, more agile alternatives to larger traditional agencies, we knew our timing was perfect. Our unique agency model got us through a lot of doors very quickly and enabled us to secure immediate work from big brands such as ASDA, Bacardi, Castrol, Johnson & Johnson and Weetabix.
“We’ve been going just over six months and are on target to double our forecasts and turnover over 1m in our first year. We’ve got seven big name clients on-board and more in the pipeline. We’ve recruited four people already and we expect to double in size again over the next 12 months. We’re bringing some big brand campaigns right here to Manchester and most importantly we’re loving every minute!”
Business and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said: “We are committed to making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business. Sound economic management, backed with low taxes, less regulation and better access to skills training has helped 450,000 new businesses get going in the last year alone.
“Start-up Loans are playing a crucial role in all of this and give budding entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed.”
Start Up Now will see 15 million allocated to new start-ups across the North West over the next two years, creating around 3000 new businesses and over 5000 new jobs in the region. Over 1000 BFS Start Up Loan recipients in the North West are now running their own businesses, creating employment and economic opportunities across Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire and Cumbria. Start Up Now is available to everyone over the age of 18 in the North West.