Case Studies

Case Study: Perfecting Pilates

Perfecting Pilates is a fitness company run by sole trader Sarah Owen, focusing on providing pilates classes and one to one sessions to help clients with postural correction and rehabilitation. As a small business, the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak was huge – resulting in Sarah having to pause the classes and look at ways to adapt her business and take it online.

Within a few days, Sarah created an online programme via Facebook and changed her pricing strategy to make the classes more affordable. Focusing on the needs of her clients and the community she had built up, Sarah created a range of online classes for all skill levels offering four online sessions for the price of one studio-based class. Offering these on a flexible basis, Sarah also focused on ensuring her clients continued to have the personal connection and quality service which had resulted in her winning ‘Pilates business of the year’ at the Leeds & West Yorkshire Prestige Awards, despite the programme now going virtual.

Support from Make It York helped Sarah to identify the funding which as a small business she would be eligible for and as a result Sarah received a Micro business grant from the City of York Council to help promote her business online. With digital marketing now being a major focus to reach new audiences online and raise the profile of the business, the grant has enabled Sarah to invest in Facebook advertising and gain exposure for her page to help attract new clients.


“The impact that the coronavirus outbreak has had on my business has been huge – I had to act really quickly to completely adapt my offering so that I could to continue to support my clients and create an online programme of activity in a matter of days. The help that Louise Saw, Business Growth Manager from Make It York provided has been so valuable – with advice on potential funding that I could apply for, and I was delighted to be awarded the £1,000 grant from City of York Council. This funding will enable me to promote my business online and reach new audiences via advertising which is a new area for me but one which is so important in this current climate. I have been so thrilled with how my clients have received the new online classes and the positive feedback I have received –and I look forward to building on this and developing my business further over the coming months.”

Sarah Owen

Owner of Perfecting Pilates

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Case Study: Andrea Morrison – Business Coaching

Self-employed/one person businesses are also eligible for this grant and many have already been successful in applying and receiving funds to support the development of their business.

Andrea Morrison is a Transformational Coach, Ted X Speaker, Columnist for the Yorkshire Post and writer. She founded her company in 2015 to specialise in state of mind coaching, particularly working with women, and has trained with a number of world leading coaches, consultants, and psychologists in this field. She now works with women’s innate capacity to reach their own potential; understanding and unlocking any blocks that they may have to prevent this from being achieved. 

Before the coronavirus outbreak, Andrea had been planning a two day ‘retreat’ for her clients and despite current lockdown restrictions she was keen to look at how she could continue to support with an alternative online option. The £1000 grant she has received has enabled her to work on an eight-week online ‘The Courageous Females programme’ which includes a combination of video modules, group coaching, and a community of like-minded women offering each other support. The funding is being used to support four other businesses who are helping to create the ‘behind the scenes’ element of the programme to enable it to be produced to a high standard and leave Andrea to focus on the facilitation & coaching. It is hoped that this will be an evergreen programme, running not during this time, but several times a year, helping countless women in the future too.

 The ‘Courageous Females Programme’ starts on 8th June and places can now be booked by visiting: http://andreamorrison.co.uk/the-courageous-females-programme/


Andrea said: “The grant has been crucial in allowing me to put together this new online programme which I have designed to really help the women who take part – recent research is pointing to the corona virus hitting women even harder than their male counterparts as they face the double burden of home duties as they try and keep their businesses and careers afloat.

“With the money I’ve been able to enlist the help of experts in areas such as graphic design and copy writing – working with other local businesses to help make this programme a success. It was also important that there was a repeated return on investment on the funding, which whilst I knew this wasn’t an essential criteria, it was such a good opportunity to help as many professional women and businesses as I could going forward.

“The whole process of applying and receiving the grant was very easy and I was very impressed with how quickly I received the funds following the application. I would highly encourage any other businesses who are thinking of applying to do so as it’s a great opportunity to get some additional support for your business. A huge thank you to the team involved in setting this up and processing the applications!”

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Case Study: Starbons Ltd

Starbons Limited is a bioscience company based at York Science Park’s Catalyst building which transforms waste into value-adding materials via a unique, patented process. The materials produced have a diverse range of different applications on account of their ability to trap (and release) molecules – which can help in areas such as de-odourisaton (e.g. ostomy bag inserts), metal extraction and recycling, and capturing toxic substances (e.g. for Personal Protective Equipment).

A new start-up business, Starbons started trading with its first customer sales in 2018. The impact of the coronavirus outbreak has resulted in them having to temporarily pause development and manufacturing of their products and as a small company this has a significant impact on cashflow. 

The Make It York business team highlighted the Micro Business Grants scheme to Starbons which they then successfully applied for. This £1000 grant from City of York Council will enable Starbons to work on the development of their website and support patent fee payments required to protect their intellectual property rights.


“This scheme is a lifeline for businesses like ours and the City of York Council should be applauded for their work in getting the grants out so quickly and efficiently. The funding will be of great use to our business and enables us to continue with planned projects such as the development of our website which is really important for our future success. Thanks to the Make It York business team and the work of Simon Middleton, who has been hugely helpful – providing invaluable advice and connections and signposting the link to us for the application. For any businesses who haven’t yet applied and are thinking about it, I would highly recommend doing so as it such a simple process and can make such a difference.

A new start-up business, Starbons started trading with its first customer sales in 2018. The impact of the coronavirus outbreak has resulted in them having to temporarily pause development and manufacturing of their products and as a small company this has a significant impact on cashflow.

The Make It York business team highlighted the Micro Business Grants scheme to Starbons which they then successfully applied for. This £1000 grant from City of York Council will enable Starbons to work on the development of their website and support patent fee payments required to protect their intellectual property rights.”

Susan Brench
CEO OF STARBONS LTD

Case Study: Starbons Ltd Read More »

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