Four first-time entrepreneurs start engineering business


FOUR first-time entrepreneurs have secured a £75,000 Start Up Loan, delivered by GC Business Finance, to start a Warrington engineering business, Valvworx, which will create jobs in the area.

Each of the four – Ivor Jones, Stephen Duxbury, Paulwarburton and Selwyn Jones – has individual expertise of engineering, business development and management in the valve industry.

They have identified a gap in the local market for provision of valve engineering services, including emergency services, operations improving diagnostic services, and comprehensive valve management services. The business will also source replacement valves for customers if a valve is beyond economical repair.
One important aspect of Valvworx’s service is its location in Warrington, an area many of its prospective customers can easily access. The proximity provides customers with savings in the region of 80 per cent in time, transport costs and carbon footprint, compared to current service providers.
Having never launched a business before, the team researched the various funding options available to them. They opted for the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme, which enabled them to split the personal loans and financial responsibility between three of the co-founders.

Start Up Loans also have no penalty for early repayments, and with the business on track to be profitable early on, this was the most attractive option. As the national business support partner for Start Up Loans, GC Business Finance supported Valvworx engineering through the process, swiftly securing them the loan.
The loan went towards the purchase of essential testing equipment for flow control and relief valves, allowing them to certify safety for customers of their engineering company. It also enabled them to sign a lease for a new workshop, which they completed fitting towards the end of last year.
Since officially launching in early this year, Valvworx has already received orders collectively in excess of £100,000, setting it off on a promising start.
The team have ambitious plans and are passionate about securing the future of manufacturing and will be seeking to bring on apprentices once they are open. Additionally, sights are set on securing contracts with the new carbon capture scheme in the North Sea.

Ivor Jones said: “When we saw that a gap had arisen, our first thought was that we needed to protect this important local trade. But with no previous experience running a business, there were lots of hurdles to overcome. The first was convincing ourselves that we could do it. We drew up incredibly detailed business plans to show that it was worth doing, not just for ourselves and prospective customers, but also for our families!
“Then came the question of finance. The equipment we needed was incredibly specialist, there was no way we could have footed that bill by ourselves. A Start Up Loan was perfect for us. From the moment we met Alex and Julia from GC Business Finance, we were put at ease. They guided us through the process, explaining every step and was always there to answer questions.
“Since officially launching and trading in our primary service of valve overhaul and certification, our order book is filling rapidly and business is going well. As of last week, our test rig was delivered and commissioned, meaning we can now operate at an increased capacity, and meet customer’s needs better than before.”
Alex Mearns, head of Startup Lending at GC Business Finance, said: “Valvworx provides a perfect example of what the Start Up Loans programme is all about: encouraging entrepreneurship, helping startups to survive, and breaking down the barrier that is accessing finance. Ivor, Stephen, Paul and Selwyn have been able to secure a local trade and have ambitions to train new apprentices, and we wish them all the best when they open soon.”
Delyth Edwards, senior network manager for the North West at the British Business Bank, said: “Warrington has an incredibly strong manufacturing sector, and it’s so important that we protect the businesses in the area, prioritising local contracts and local employment. Valvworx is a brilliant story of a group of people coming together to do just that, and I’m proud that Start Up Loans have been able to play a role in this.”


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