Starting a business in Hull: Force-7

With a passionate and flourishing business community, Force-7 explains why Hull is the place for an entrepreneur to be...

Company name: Force-7
Founder: Philip Batty
Description: Force-7 is a youth communications agency
Website: www.force-7.co.uk

What’s great about starting a business in Hull?

Hull is a city that hasn’t always had the best reputation; however, there are so many passionate people in the city that the business community is flourishing and is the catalyst behind so many of the positive changes happening.

The city is so supportive of all businesses, so many individuals and companies get involved with mentoring and business support. The development of enterprise in young people is a focus of the city and this helped Force-7 to develop into the business it is today.

What business support in Hull have you used? How was it?

Starting a business in Hull was fantastic, even as a fledgling company started by young people we have always been treated as equals by the business community. To help us get started we were welcomed in to key networks in the city, including the For Entrepreneurs Only (FEO) network and the Humber Bondholders Scheme.

We are fortunate to have a highly engaged local authority who are galvanised to develop and achieve an enterprise culture in the city, most notably there is Hull’s Youth Enterprise Partnership, which brings together all organisations to support young people and mentor them in starting businesses in the city as well as providing motivation and key business advice.

Name the top three reasons to set up a business in Hull:

  1. The location: It’s a city that truly feels at the heart of everything. We have flexible and cost-effective access to our target audience across the UK.
  2. The people: They say the North is friendly, well Hull epitomises this. It’s a city where people pull together to achieve. The sense of community pride and passion cannot be rivaled whether that’s the general public or the business community.
  3. The place: Hull is a thriving city, even before it was announced as UK City of Culture for 2017, the investment and excitement for the rejuvenation of this city has been a long-time in the making.

Where could Hull be better / what does it need?

Hull is a city that has struggled with the unemployment of young people; however, more and more it is becoming a fantastic place to be a young person. The UK City of Culture means that the future is bright – recent guaranteed investment from international organisations from Siemens means that there is now an exciting future ahead for young people.

How easy has it been to access finance to grow?

There are some challenges that are difficult when setting up a business; when you’re under 18, banks and business managers tend not to take you seriously. This isn’t something we have let stop our business from growing, but it should be noted that there is room for improvement.

At Force-7 we have a strong ethos of growing the business from within and making it sustainable, therefore we haven’t accessed any grant funding. Our local authority were fantastic in helping us set up though and were great with finding us office space and giving us the chance to have it rent free when we started.

Where do you go to network in Hull?

The city has a fantastic base for networking. The Humber Bondholder Scheme is a network of over 240 local businesses who are all working together with the ultimate goal of promoting the Humber region to create jobs and wealth, and to demonstrate what the Humber can offer to the UK and the rest of the world.

Another organisation we are closely involved with is the FEO, which is a representative group of entrepreneurs from the area working together to help rebuild the local economy by creating more private sector jobs for the future.

As well as these fantastic organisations, which Force-7 is proud to be part of, Hull is home to the Humber Business Week, which is the world’s largest festival of business. The annual Humber Business Week showcases industry talents and offers hundreds of events that inspire and educate tens of thousands of people within the Humber and beyond.

Where do you take a client for a business lunch?

In Hull, there are hundreds of places we could take a client for a business lunch. If we were to pick our three favourites:

1884 DSK – situated in Hull’s idyllic Marina, this is fine dining with an atmosphere to match. If we want to impress a client you simply couldn’t take them to a finer establishment. With an ethos of locally sourced produce and culinary expertise that garners rave reviews and has received countless awards we couldn’t be prouder to show off one of the region’s finest restaurants.

Thieving Harry’s – based in Hull’s quirky and exciting Fruit Market; taking a client here for some coffee and cake is the perfect way to show off Hull. The café is a lunchtime favourite and its relaxed atmosphere and scrummy food means our clients love it too.

Henry Yeast –  we love taking our clients for something to eat at Henry Yeast, it’s a great restaurant and it’s right in the heart of the bustling Avenues area, which shows off another side to Hull.

Where’s great for a company night out?

There is much debate as to where we love for a night out, there are a few staple favourites like Piper on Newland Avenue, the music is the perfect mix of indie and pop, the drinks are cheap and you can find our team at ‘Pipe Dog’ most Friday nights.

Fuel is in the city centre, the drinks are even cheaper, the music is even cheesier and it’s open til six, safe to say we all love it.

And you know what? What’s wrong with the pub on the corner, we love to wind down on a Friday evening with a game of Articulate and a glass of wine in our local Ye Olde White Hart; it’s the place where the English Civil War started and it’s fantastic.

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