In 2020, Launch It opened Start Up Street in Paisley, previously a row of disused shops. The street is made up of 16 affordable studio spaces and a communal area for events and networking and is run in partnership with Renfrewshire Council.
Start Up Street has become a hub for local entrepreneurs like Grant Fraser from SweetPunkz. who has used his sweet business to raise awareness of mental health, read on to find out more about his story!
My business is an online sweet retail business operating from the Launch It Paisley Centre; so far running a business has been fast paced and exciting!
I have always been the 'entrepreneur' type. I used to buy wholesale products from China and sell them for profit in my school days - I used to love it but moved away from that spirit when working on my career post-university.
''Having a studio has been vital for the launch and growth of this business.''
I like to experiment and take risks in everything I do and saw that opportunity take shape in the form of self-employment, I wanted to push myself and fulfil a life dream to be my own boss.
So far, the business has managed to prove concept and expand locally and across the UK. My biggest achievements so far are building a loyal customer base in such a short period of time and being able to raise awareness of mental health with over 3million video views and £1400 raised for SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental health), an issue I am passionate about.
I moved into Start Up Street in March 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic affected my previous business. I had always operated from my home and needed to take a step into a unit studio type space to make this new sweet business a reality. Moving into a food based industry was something I had no experience in, I needed support. My Enterprise Manager Trish has helped me gain approvals from local council Environmental Health with documentation and planning to meet industry standards.
Having a studio has been vital for the launch and growth of this business. Getting Environmental Health approval would have been so much more difficult to achieve in a home setting. My customers see us as a more serious and professional business from a personal point of view, I have 100% felt the difference. I feel more serious about my business than I have at any point before; which has given me a fresh drive to really push it on to the next level.
The hardest part of starting and operating a business is having to it full time without any guaranteed financial support. But taking the initial risk/leap is worth it if you have the idea and the graft in you!
I would advise other young entrepreneurs to invest early and often during your start up, it will only help grow your business. If it does get difficult don't give up, opportunities come at the most unexpected time - grab them. There are so many people willing to help and support you, don't be afraid to ask.