Case Study: Little Squirrels

Little Squirrels Torquay CIC is an outdoor exploration experience for parent and child groups which is inspired by, and located in, a natural setting that covers the areas of Torquay and Newton Abbot.

Owned by Anne Rees, Little Squirrels offers natural sensory exploration courses for babies, along with woodland and outdoor explorers sessions for older children – all of which encourage children and babies to build skills and confidence through hands-on experiences.

Alongside this, Little Squirrels is going through the process of Ofsted registration with the aim of opening a Steiner Kindergarten and Forest school in January 2021 for children aged 3-7.

The Challenge:

As a brand-new business, Anne was unsure of what steps to take to grow Little Squirrels to the next level.

With two parent and child groups a week already running, Little Squirrels felt that professional guidance from TDA would help to build their brand awareness and encourage customers to spread the word!

The Solution:

After signing up for ERDF Enterprise Coaching support from TDA, Little Squirrels were able to work with business advisor Kim Thornton on their marketing strategy. The sessions were also used to discuss the business model and the possibility of becoming a Community Interest Company.

Kim Thornton said: ‘From the outset, the potential Anne’s business had to grow was clear. Being a Steiner-trained teacher, a mother, and a nature enthusiast, she had all the necessary tools. It was a pleasure to help guide her, and when needed, signpost her to other support she would benefit from.’

Anne Rees said: ‘It was through Kim’s support that I dared to dream even bigger, and she helped set in motion the cogs which got me thinking that an alternative Early Years provision would be worth waiting for in Torquay.’

TDA helped Anne to identify the best business practice, which has provided Little Squirrels with the chance to expand their partnership opportunities.

Anne added: ‘Kim helped me to realise that the business would benefit from being set up as a Community Interest Company – rather than working as a sole trader – and this has provided me with some great, unexpected partnership opportunities with the directors, who have stepped forward to join me on the board.’

The Future:

Along with their current workshops and activities, Little Squirrels is set to become an Ofsted-registered, Steiner-inspired Kindergarten and Forest School from January 2021.

TDA has supported Little Squirrels CIC through the early stages of business start-up, which has been enabled by the European Regional Development Fund – Enterprise Coaching Project, that provides fully funded business support to start-up businesses in Torbay through one-to-one sessions and workshops.

Start up Torbay

A fully funded business support programme, designed specifically for businesses in Torquay, Brixham, and Paignton, whether you’re at concept stage or already up and running.

Through a series of collaborative workshops and 1:1 sessions, you will learn all you need to get to grips with turning your idea into a reality.

Spread across five workshop sessions, the programme will cover the basics of starting a business, including business planning, marketing, financial planning, and promotion.

Who Are We?

We are a local, friendly team of Business Advisors, with a passion for helping businesses.

We have helped hundreds of people across the South-West unlock their potential to become self-employed; aiding budding entrepreneurs to start their own business and not look back.

This service is available free of charge to all Torbay residents from all backgrounds, with the aim of harnessing local entrepreneurial talent. This project is fully funded by Torbay Council and the European Regional Development Fund, and delivered by TDA.

Written By: TDA

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