Little Squirrels Torquay CIC is an outdoor exploration experience for parent and child groups, inspired by and located in a natural setting covering the areas of Torquay and Newton Abbot. Owned by Anne Rees, Little Squirrels offers natural sensory exploration courses for babies, woodland explorers, outdoor explorers and eco-friendly birthday parties, encouraging children and babies to build skills and confidence through hands-on experiences. Alongside this, Little Squirrels CIC 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.
As a brand new business, Anne was unsure of what steps to take in order to progress Little Squirrels and take it to the next level.
With two parent and child groups a week already running, Little Squirrels Torquay felt that professional guidance from TDA would help build their brand awareness and engage their customer base to spread the word on what they have to offer.
After signing up for ERDF Enterprise Coaching support from TDA, Little Squirrels Torquay were able to work with business advisor Kim Thornton on their marketing strategy, identifying opportunities for promotion and helping the business. 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 it was clear what potential Anne’s business had to grow. As a Steiner trained teacher, a mother and a passion for nature she had all the tools. It was a pleasure to help guide her, and when necessary, 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 that got me thinking that an alternative Early Years provision would be worth waiting for in Torquay.”
TDA helped Anne identify best business practice which has provided Little Squirrels Torquay with the chance to expand their partnership opportunities.
Anne added: “Kim helped me 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 working opportunities with the directors, who have stepped forward to join me on the Board.”
Along with their current workshops and activities, Little Squirrels Torquay is set to become an Ofsted registered, Steiner inspired Kindergarten and Forest School from January 2021.
TDA has supported Little Squirrels Torquay CIC through the early stages of business start-up which has been enabled by the European Regional Development Fund – Enterprise Coaching Project, which provides fully funded Business Support to Start-up Businesses in Torbay through One to One sessions and Workshops.
To find out more about Little Squirrels CIC you can visit https://www.facebook.com/LittleSquirrelsTorquay