An online retailer specialising in high quality British-made gifts has been able to grow to the next level thanks to support from Rockfine Group.

Sir Gordon Bennett, which offers customers “modern Heritage Great British goods and gifts”, has benefitted from Rockfine-organised free growth course the Elevate programme, delivered on behalf of Worcestershire Growth Hub, to shape its next phase of business development.

The team behind Sir Gordon Bennett also had the chance to hone their pitching skills when they sought to impress three business giant “Bulls” in the BullRing, Birmingham’s real-life answer to popular TV shows like Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank.

Launched in 2017, Sir Gordon Bennett sell products through their website which fit the requirement of being “beautifully crafted by artisans, crafters and manufacturers who care deeply about the goods they create”. The criteria for products to meet in order to be listed is to be “thoughtfully designed to last longer thus have less of an impact on the planet’s finite resources”.

Sir Gordon Bennett, which has its warehouse in Blackminster, near Evesham, was among a cohort of creative tech companies to join the Elevate programme, which helps business owners to reshape and grow their firms for stronger futures, backed with support on securing funding grants.

Rockfine Group, who specialise in mentoring business leaders to achieve greater success, gave participants mentoring and guidance specific to the needs of their sector to enable the development of a growth plan to shape the way forward to future success.

Significant impact

Having benefitted from the programme, Sir Gordon Bennett also took part in the BullRing sessions, which see exciting companies seeking investment pitch their ventures in front of a panel of leading figures in business during a free live and interactive online session. The sessions see companies seeking investment pitch their ventures to the leaders, who offer their business nous to comment on the presentations and engage in a question-and-answer session. 

Sir Gordon Bennett co-founder Dan Colagiovanni said working with Rockfine through Elevate and the BullRing had made a significant impact on his business. He said: “We were keen to develop our business-to-business offer, so working with Rockfine’s business coach has been great as they have the experience to help us with our strategy and the contacts to help us grow our network.

 “The monthly group sessions on specific subjects have helped us develop our skills. We focused on understanding how we interact with customers and suppliers in a more strategic way which has helped us grow more quickly than we expected.

“Although we are UK-based the US is our second biggest market, helped by the strength of the dollar against sterling, so collaborating with the team at Rockfine who are from North America and have deep knowledge of the tech sector has helped us understand the opportunities there.”

Dan said the BullRing experience, which aims to provide great exposure for up-and-coming companies and positive introductions to potentially make the deal of a lifetime, had been instrumental in helping Sir Gordon Bennett prepare for seed funding rounds.

Exciting growth

Dan explained: “Having realised we needed more capital, we were preparing for rounds of seed fund presentations so going into the BullRing got us to prepare for making sure every minute counts when you are in front of potential investors. 

“As part of the build-up we were able to attend a workshop to hone our presentation. The eventual reception was good, with great feedback from the Bulls and constructive questions about our plans. It was testing but nothing that we could not handle having been so well prepared. We have also developed some new contacts as well as benefitting from the visibility for the future.”

Dan said he would recommend other businesses to work with Rockfine. He said: “The Rockfine team have strong business sense and are interested in seeing our company progress but they also have a world view, rather than just focusing on the local market, which has helped us a great deal.”

Rockfine Director B.D. Dalton, who leads Elevate for Worcestershire Growth Hub and hosts each BullRing, said it was pleasing for the team to help Sir Gordon Bennett progress. He said: “We have been pleased to help Sir Gordon Bennett prepare for the next phase of their exciting growth plans through their participation in Elevate and the BullRing, which have proved to be opportunities which they grabbed with both hands.

“Sir Gordon Bennett has a distinct offering and the appeal to potentially grow at a strong pace, so they were perfect for our team to support across a wide range of business services. The Elevate scale up programme is designed to support ambitious small to medium sized companies like Sir Gordon Bennett get ready for growth by providing a specialist mentor to help in the creation of a viable growth plan.

“Not only does the BullRing offer exposure for up-and-coming companies and great introductions to potentially make the deal of a lifetime, but the format also ensures the business founder focuses on driving a concise message ready for all audiences, from investors to clients and even potential business partners.