Paul Caunter is director at Ignition, a leading UK provider of vehicle and asset finance for SMEs, based in Truro. He explains how asset finance can help get a new business off to a flying start

Paul Caunter, director, Ignition Credit

SMEs are continuing to thrive in Cornwall, and despite economic uncertainty around Brexit, it seems the county’s enthusiasm for starting new businesses has not been deterred. ONS statistics show that start-ups in the county are continuing to increase, with 76 more new companies registered in Cornwall in 2016 than in the previous year.  Many of these will have come from traditional sectors like catering and tourism, but we are also seeing growth in other areas such as construction and IT, which is great news for the Cornish business community.

Nevertheless, starting a new business can be daunting. There is always a lot to consider, and often the toughest barrier to overcome is arranging suitable finance to get a business up and running in the first place. In particular, finding funds to purchase essential equipment can seem overwhelming, with many high-street banks reluctant to provide loans.

Fortunately, there are alternative finance options available to budding entrepreneurs, which don’t demand huge repayments or the provision of other assets as security. At Ignition, we’ve helped hundreds of individuals kick-start their new venture, by providing finance for virtually all business-critical assets, with options including commercial loans, leasing and hire purchase.

Ex-offshore and experienced scaffolder, Anthony Whyte, set up his new business ARW Scaffold Contracting in June last year, operating out of Truro. Business has been booming ever since, but like many new start-ups, Anthony found he was hampered by his limited equipment.  He was even beginning to turn jobs away:

“There are a lot of costs involved in starting a business, particularly the initial outlay on equipment. With a limited stock of tubes, boards and fittings I was having to reconsider taking on bigger jobs.”

Ignition was able to help Anthony with finance for additional scaffolding equipment, and a new Iveco dropside truck to assist with transportation:

“Ignition were able to provide me with finance quickly and without hassle. It’s great to have the new equipment.  We are able to work to maximum capacity now, instead of being held back,” Anthony adds.

Even when the early years don’t run as smoothly as originally hoped, asset finance can prove a lifeline for keeping a new business afloat. Biking enthusiast, Darren Berrey, has benefited from financial assistance from Ignition since the launch of his innovative biker-themed restaurant, Chapters Diner, in a shipping container in Indian Queens in 2015.   Ignition initially helped with the purchase of a coffee machine and furnishings.  But a few months later, the fledgling business was stopped in its tracks by a disastrous fire.  Ignition was able to help with the subsequent refurbishment and later the purchase and fit-out of a second shipping container, which doubled the floor space and covers, enabling 100% expansion. Darren comments:

“Starting a new business is always a challenge, and the fire was certainly a huge set-back, but Ignition has supported us and believed in the business from the outset.  Chapters Diner wouldn’t be the success story it is today without Ignition.”

Ignition has since helped give the Diner a business boost by providing funding for a new, branded Suzuki C1500 T motorbike for marketing purposes. Darren now has plans for possible Chapters 2 and 3 on motorbike dealership sites in Saltash and Falmouth.

And it’s not just the traditional, more ‘tangible’ business assets such as vehicles, premises and machinery, that Ignition is able to help finance. The growing number of new companies in the service sectors are also able to benefit, with finance available for other essential business tools such as IT systems and databases.

Experienced telemarketer, Lauren Popperwell, launched her own business in March 2015, specialising in making sales appointments for businesses. Quality Appointers started with five employees working from home, but within a year the business was doing so well that Lauren realised she needed an office and more staff.

The company has recently moved into a new office in Tamar View Industrial Estate in Saltash, and now employs 16 members of staff from the local community. Ignition was able to help with funding some of the essential business equipment needed for this important transition, including a new IT system and substantial database of contacts.  Lauren comments:

“Ignition gave me the financial boost I needed to take my business to the next level. The process was quick and easy, and the new equipment has helped hugely with efficiency. I have a very strong team now at Quality Appointers, and we’re ready to grow the business even further.”

At Ignition, we value building long-term relationships with our clients and help provide finance without the usual hassle. Most credit decisions are made within just four hours.  To find out how we can help your business, contact us on 01872 272900 or visit