Getting to grips with new markets

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Cornish company Gripsure is preparing to take its non-slip decking product to Australia this year.

The business, which is based in Bugle, has transformed itself from a small local contractor to a major national manufacturing company in just four years and is now set to go international in 2014.

Gripsure has benefitted from two years’ coaching through Oxford Innovation’s Coaching for High Growth programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Mike Nicholson (l) with Oxford Innovation coach Simon Gill
Mike Nicholson (l) with Oxford Innovation coach Simon Gill

The coaching helped director Mike Nicholson and his team identify their key strengths and weaknesses in order to develop a rigorous plan to grow the business.

The company started out as Cornwall Specialist Surfacing, providing timber flooring and resin surfaces for playgrounds. After a major contract to produce boardwalks for Cornwall Council, Nicholson started to focus on manufacturing non-slip wooden decking and Gripsure was born.

Gripsure has developed a range of decking boards with anti slip inserts, giving the highest grip rating for any decking board in the UK. The company has created bespoke decking for clients across the UK from the Scottish Highlands to Jersey and Guernsey.

The company, which now employs six people, has just moved to larger premises and is developing a new patented product. In addition, the team is working with UK Trade and Investment to investigate opportunities for exporting the Gripsure brand overseas.

Nicholson said: “I have nothing but admiration for Oxford Innovation. The key benefit for me has been to draw on the expertise of specialists to help with different business issues, from finance to marketing and social media. Oxford Innovation also brought direction and focus and a more structured way of working as we decided which markets to go into.”

Oxford Innovation coach, Simon Gill, added: “Since we have started working together, Mike has developed a really strong operational process and identified international distributors. Things are looking really good for Gripsure and I would not be surprised if we see them turning over £1 million within the next few years.”