social impact report & annual statement

AD:VENTURE and BEF deliver the threads of success to Yorkshire-based design agency.

SingleThread is set for growth thanks to support from AD:VENTURE and a Start Up Loan from BEF.


SingleThread received support to successfully apply for a business loan, guidance from a Business Manager and made new connections, building his business network.

About the company

SingleThread is a digital design agency and consultancy, specialising in branding and website design. They work with startups and ambitious small and medium size businesses to help them showcase their potential and create a visual narrative that stands out.

SingleThread was founded by Marcus Morgan-Etty and Andy Ashton. Co-Founder & Creative Director Marcus spoke to us about his business journey:

“Before my life as a design agency owner I was a restaurateur for 20 years. My family owned two beautiful restaurants in Lincoln, so it all started washing pots at 8 years old for pocket money. I have 20 years of experience in design development and operations in high-end hospitality.

Marcus has designed and built hospitality businesses across the globe with a successful consultancy business. He returned to the UK for his family and helped design and launch an award-winning farm shop and restaurant. He has always had a passion for the creative sector, in his early career he attended design school and became a fashion photographer. The cost-of-living crisis and pandemic meant that he had to reassess his future, and focus his design skills across a broader, more sustainable business sectors.

We founded SingleThread to build creative, standout brands and websites. We are a small, ambitious company with big ideas but without the designer price tag.”

Support objectives

Marcus sought support to expand his business.

“We were looking for funding to grow the business and were aiming to hire a new team member to support that growth. We were also looking for valuable and meaningful connections to build on our business network.”


Marcus attended the AD:VENTURE Start Me Up event in Wakefield in April, after being told about the support available by Janet Bebb, from Social Progress. This event was held exclusively for new business owners to facilitate connection building, provide insights on the latest hot topics for business owners, access business support services and hear a range of talks from those who have recently launched and grown successful businesses.

Previous to the event Marcus met Bruce McLeod, the AD:VENTURE Business Manager for Kirklees and began receiving support. Bruce assisted Marcus in preparing his business plan and successfully applying for a Business Enterprise Fund loan.

As well as assistance with the business loan process Bruce also provided information and acted as a sounding board for Marcus:

“I had a very clear vision for my business but needed someone to lean on, act as a sounding board when I made decisions. Bruce provided this and is always on hand for a chat or to offer suggestions, connections, and signposting to other helpful business support services”

An investment manager from AD:VENTURE partner, the Business Enterprise Fund recommended a Business Start-Up Loan when he met Marcus at the Start Me Up event, he also reviewed the SingleThread business plan and made suggestions to improve its chance of loan approval. The loan application process was completed in two weeks. Financing £10,000 with the option of a further £5,000 if required.

“We took out a loan to furnish and equip our office for graphic design and video editing, which requires expensive computers that we couldn't afford otherwise. The extra funds were used for short-term cash flow and to hire our first staff member. With the capital, we're able to provide the new team member with the necessary computer and office equipment. These investments have allowed us to access additional grants.

“My experience with BEF was very positive. My case manager was always available to answer my queries, and he helped me fine-tune and adjust areas of my business plans and financial forecasts to ensure that they were presented in a way that improved the approval process. This, combined with Bruce's support, made the application process quick, fluid, and stress-free”

The AD:VENTURE event provided an opportunity for Marcus to meet several new business owners who he has since built affiliations with. These connections have added value to his business and developed into meaningful supportive relationships. Marcus described how these connections have impacted him and his business:

“I met Sam from Sam Teale productions –we followed with a meet up and realised there were lots of opportunities for the two businesses. SingleThread developed the company’s website and we have also created an affiliated partnership with Sam Teale Productions for all our future video content.

I had a follow up meeting with the very talented Georgia Halston, founder of Halston Marketing, who kindly offered to review the business and was very complimentary which gave me confidence in our approach. A really positive connection!

Alixe Lobato, founder of Flying Duck Studios, is another good connection who generously gave up time to offer advice and support from her own experiences.

I also connected with the Innovate UK Edge team, including Chantelle Brandon Reeves. They reviewed the business and its objectives, this provided another confidence boost as the team felt we were doing everything we should be.” The door is open for Marcus to contact for further support as the business grows.


Marcus has already taken advantage of many aspects of the support available and will be continuing his business growth journey working with Bruce.

“Having Bruce has been a great help – He doesn’t tell me what to do, but I can lean in and have someone to talk to, sound off my thoughts and ideas.

Overall, the support from AD:VENTURE and wider connections I made have helped stop me going insane, giving me a sounding board to know I am making the right decisions!

B2B was very different to my background in B2C, and although I knew I was going do it, having people on hand to talk to has helped me to go for it, to take the brave steps forward and break the mould.

The financial support has helped to give the space to build a network and a more defined narrative of the business, which has been invaluable.”

Visit SingleThread – Website | Instagram | LinkedIn

AD:VENTURE provides business support for ambitious new businesses in West Yorkshire.

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