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Funding puts driving school on the road to growth

Chris Richards of 123 Driving School Web 1

A Preston driving school expects to raise turnover from £27,000 to £400,000 in three years, thanks to a five figure Rosebud Micro Loan secured through Boost’s Access to Finance programme.

Established in 2014 by owner and managing director Chris Richards, 123 Driving School trains driving instructors as well as learner drivers. The Rosebud funding from Lancashire County Council has already enabled Chris to recruit two part-time office support staff, along with four self-employed driving instructors under the 123 Driving School franchise.

The support staff are handling social media marketing activity as well as carrying out business administration, enabling Chris to focus on expanding the business. In addition, Chris has been able to move to bigger headquarters, which include a dedicated training room, in Preston Technology Management Centre.

Boost is Lancashire's Business Growth Hub and is led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Lancashire County Council, and supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Chris commented: “We are looking for more people to become driving instructors because there is a huge demand. The training fees are a major obstacle for many people, so we offer training courses that are fully subsidised. Currently we have four people on our training programme and plan to increase this to 20 across the North West by April 2018.” Chris Richards of 123 Driving School Chris Richards of 123 Driving School[/caption] He continued: “We are looking to further up-skill the best candidates out of our current instructors as well as our new intake and train them to become driving instructor trainers. It's a very exciting time for us.

We are not only training and giving more to driving instructors, we are also providing theory training courses, basic car maintenance, basic first aid and driving test nerves workshops to help learner drivers and increase our offerings.” Chris was introduced to Boost’s Access to Funding programme by his accountant Mark Drage at Ambledene Accountancy and took part in face to face meetings with adviser Jonathan Nelson, who produced a credit report for Rosebud Micro as well as helping to draw up a business plan with cash flow forecasts. 

He added: “I can definitely recommend Access to Finance because I wouldn’t have got the Rosebud loan without Jonathan’s help and advice.” Jonathan said: “Chris was keen to undertake everything required of him in order to make the loan successful application. His business plan and cash flow forecasts, along with his drive and determination, bode well for the future and I am confident he will achieve his aims.”

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