'Corking' construction business has grand designs to improve sustainablity
Corksol are set to build an eco-friendly business thanks to a Start Up Loan from BEF.
Jonathan Ward — Founding partner and Managing Director of
Corksol UK Ltd — is a small business owner based in Brighouse, West Yorkshire with
a passion for eco-friendly and sustainable products. “We need to challenge the concept of what is acceptable as a building material,” he says. “With truly
sustainable materials available it is incumbent on us to embrace these where
Founded in 2017, Corksol have an exclusive UK license to
supply a natural cork render for new build and renovation projects. Recommended
by Kevin McCloud, presenter of TV’s Grand Designs, their sprayed cork coating
offers an eco-friendly, sustainable, and energy efficient alternative for architects,
property developers, construction contractors, and DIY enthusiasts.
CorkSol’s sprayed cork offers significant benefits over
traditional render products. It is:
- A completely natural and sustainable product that can be applied by spraying.
- A significantly better insulator that has a better thermal rating.
- Fully water resistant and fire retardant, and far less liable to cracking.
- Applicable to any type of surface including plastic, metal, and wood clad buildings.
Jonathan and his co-founders Paul Hemingway and Jamie Orr faced
the challenge of introducing the game changing product to the UK construction
industry. While the opportunity was enormous, Corksol set a realistic plan that
enabled them to grow at a sustainable rate.
Jonathan said: “This required us to build a network of
professional, committed and well-trained installers across the UK. We opted to
deliver and certify the training in-house. We needed funding to open a dedicated
As a new business Corksol were unable to secure financial
support from high street banks. This is when they approached Julie
Micklethwaite, Start Up Loans Manager at BEF. Corksol opened their dedicated
training centre in October 2017 thanks to a £75,000 Start Up Loan from BEF.
Jonathan said: “Our experience with the banks did not live
up to our expectations. The help we wanted was unavailable to a new business
like ours. We needed to find someone who believed in us as much as we did. Having
looked at all of our options, the Start Up Loan presented the most obvious and
viable way to get going quickly.”
In the two years since opening their training school, Corksol
have developed a network of 50 installation companies across the UK. Whilst sales have grown, they faced challenges due to the slow embrace of their
In response, Jonathan and Paul received a
second Start Up Loan of £18,000 in December 2018. This enabled them to upgrade
their training centre, keep up with demand, and focus on the launch of new,
complimentary products later in 2019 that will transform the competitiveness of
Jonathan said: “In the last two years, we’ve learnt a lot
about our product and ourselves. We’ve embraced that learning by opening new
opportunities and working with consultants who can drive our business forward.
We are confident about what the future holds.”
Jonathan continued: “My experience with BEF has taught me
that there is always someone out there on your side. When we’ve needed support,
BEF have been there for us. They know what small businesses like ours go
through. Their non-judgemental approach is a breath of fresh air.”
For anyone who dreams of starting a business, Jonathan
offers some hard-earned words of wisdom. “As a small business you can feel very
isolated and up against the world. Support is there. Network to make your
vision a reality,” he says. “Explore your options and work with like-minded
people who offer real support. Don’t be ashamed of the support, especially from
those with experience, it’s vital to your success.”
Julie Micklethwaite, Start Up Loans Manager at BEF, said: “It’s
been a pleasure to play a small part in the ongoing success of Corksol. Their innovation,
determination and desire to succeed in a tough market is a good example to
anyone thinking of starting a business. I wish Corksol every success with their
new products and services.”
For more information on Corksol visit http://corksoluk.com
Are you looking for finance and support to help develop a business in the construction sector? Get your idea off the ground with the help of a Start Up Loan.