Business Durham case study: Shout Loud Social

A digital and design agency which works with businesses in a range of sectors has credited support delivered by the Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP) as the reason it’s on track to double its growth.

As part of DBOP, three intensive programmes of support are offered annually in sectors identified as having high growth potential, one of those sectors is Engineering and Manufacturing. Shout Loud Social signed up for the DBOP Engineering and Manufacturing Programme, part of that support included preparing for and exhibiting within the Incubator Zone at EMCON, the region’s largest engineering and manufacturing conference.

The company were one of 18 businesses that benefitted from the support programme managed by Business Durham’s DBOP team and delivered by sales specialists Buzztastic.

Shout Loud Social, which is based in Durham and is managed by Ryan Briggs and Aiden Nord, signed up to the programme after it was recommended to them by a company they work closely with, Root Cause Consultancy.

Ryan Briggs said: “Our business launched last year, in between national coronavirus lockdowns, and we were growing at a steady pace which we were happy with.

“We hadn’t really thought about exhibiting at events just yet but when we were told about this support, it seemed like such a good opportunity.

“Initially, we were a bit hesitant because of the investment to take part – however, we needn’t have worried as even before the event, we’d made new contacts and even delivered some of the design work needed by our fellow exhibitors.

“Then, at the event itself we made so many useful contacts and have since secured six new clients, with two more hot leads which we’re working on converting. All in, we think that the business will bring in three times what we made last year.”

The DBOP Engineering and Manufacturing programme is a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funded business support programme and a key strand of DBOP. It supports new and growing SMEs that are looking to break into new markets and require additional coaching, sales and marketing support to be ready to exhibit. All exhibitors get 12 hours of intensive support and a basic package of marketing materials, including banner stands and flyers, to be used at EMCON and other events.

Lisa Wall, Business Engagement Officer for DBOP, said: “We’ve had excellent feedback from the companies that took part in this year’s Incubator Zone and it’s fantastic to hear that Shout Loud Social is planning to triple their business income, putting them on course for significant growth.”

Ryan added: “There’s no doubt taking part in the Incubator Zone has significantly fast-tracked our growth and we want to say a big thank you to Kevin Maddison from Root Cause Consultancy and Victoria Fleming at Buzztastic for all their help.

“Our challenge now is to manage our growth and we’re currently in the process of looking for new business premises in Durham which will support us going forward.”

Victoria Fleming from Buzztastic said: “It was a great experience to work with such a diverse range of businesses, all of which were looking to raise their profile and put themselves in front of potential new clients. Clearly it worked for Shout Loud Social, which are projecting to triple their income directly from the Incubator Zone programme. We are already planning for the 2022 Engineering and Manufacturing Programme, with a number of businesses already signed up. I would urge anyone interested in taking part to get in touch, judging by the success of this years programme it has been well worth it. ”

The Durham Business Opportunities Programme is a six-year programme for SMEs running up until November 2022. It is funded through ERDF and delivered by Business Durham, the business support service for Durham County Council, helping to deliver more and better jobs and a strong competitive economy.