Location: St Albans
JPA Furniture - suppliers of contract furniture for work, education and living spaces are strategically expanding their business following participation in Growth Accelerator earlier in the year. As recent winners of the FSB Green Business award and St Albans Chamber of Commerce Green Business award, they want to build on this and champion a Circular Economy business model in Hertfordshire, so contacted Hertfordshire Growth Hub seeking help to access funding for a pilot study demonstrating the value of recycling second-hand furniture for re-use.
Hertfordshire Growth Hub’s adviser team worked with JPA to identify and access funding, building relationships with key contacts in environmental and research based industries.
To identify sources of finance, the company met with Abrar Jawaid, Specialist Innovation and Technology Adviser, who reviewed the company’s needs and their planned project, identifying that the best way forward was to apply for an innovation voucher – a way for SME businesses to compete for government-funded vouchers to pay for external expertise on innovative projects.
With help from Abrar, JPA successfully secured an innovation voucher which led them to work with a leading centre of excellence, the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) in late 2015. Keen to maximise the value of their engagement with the company, the IfM is using two post-graduate students to assist in the research and analysis at no additional cost to the company.
Building on this work and JPA’s existing relationship with the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA), Abrar identified key research personnel within FIRA with whom JPA are now working closely on an additional project, based on Circular Economy principles, specifically, the value of furniture re-use and reduction in landfill.
Fiona Edwards, Commercial Director at JPA Furniture, sums up the company’s experience of the Growth Hub:
“The advisers quickly identified potential funding options for our project, which we were successful in securing. Not only this, we’re now working with expert partners who are helping us develop new business models and products and we’d really like to thank Growth Hub for their expertise, knowledge and connections in these key areas. We will continue to work with the Growth Hub as we really value their ongoing support and long-term approach to helping us develop our business.”
Find out about JPA Furniture's work by visiting their website.
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