A grant from NBSL’s North East Business Support Fund proved to be a gamechanger for Inky Thinking directors Tom and Esther Russell, unlocking new possibilities for a brand-new website after the previous website had served an impressive eight years.

2021 marked a big year of change for Inky Thinking, becoming a UK Reseller of Neuland products in the UK, launching in September 2021. “Not only did we need a new website, we needed a new site with much more functionality than we ever needed before.” says Esther. “Our new product business aligns perfectly with our current visual communication offer, including graphic recording, explainer animations, rich pictures and customer experience mapping.”

Tom & Esther applied for a grant from the North East Business Support Fund unlocking the potential that a new website could bring to the business. “Applying for the grant was so easy”, says Esther. “The team were very friendly, helpful and efficient, explaining each step in an easy to understand way. It was great that our provider, Sarah Greenwell from Stick Marketing, knew the process too, so we felt in good hands all round.”  NBSL were pleased to award £1,750 towards the £5,000 project – via the North East Business Support Fund – part financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Northern Powerhouse.

Once their funding application was approved, Tom, Esther and Sarah got to work on the content of the new website, carefully designing the underpinning wireframe to ensure the site was engaging and easy to navigate. “We were also delighted to have the help of Adela Kolodziejska who is a UX specialist and friend of Inky Thinking. “With Sarah and Adela’s sound expertise we knew our new website was going to fly straight from launch in May.” says Tom.

It’s no surprise that leading a visual communication business, Tom and Esther were keen to ensure their new website looked amazing. “We wanted the site to stand out, but we know that this isn’t the only important aspect of a good website. There’s so much more to website design than we ever knew.” says Tom. “Sarah and her team were amazing, advising and guiding us on every aspect, including SEO, which is something we hadn’t spent much time focussing on in the past.” explains Esther.

Like many other businesses, 2021 has been a year of challenge and change for Inky Thinking. “We’ve had a very strong year, despite the challenges that Covid has thrown at us. We pivoted quickly to digital graphic work when face to face projects disappeared.” says Esther. “Our new website and refreshed brand has enabled us to clearly communicate the value we add to our clients and how we make that happen. We couldn’t have enjoyed such a great year without NBSL’s funding and a strong partnership with Stick Marketing. In fact, we were over the moon to work with Sarah again as she designed our original brand and website.’ ”

Joy Gair, Funding Advisor for the Northumberland and Tyne & Wear area of the North East Business Support Fund added “Our flexibility around our funding offer means that businesses have been able to implement innovative changes that have supported growth or helped stabilise a business during uncertain times. We’ve been delighted to add value to Inky Thinking and help de-risk their investment through using the North East Business Support Fund. I urge anyone thinking about accessing support to get in touch and allow us to help as many businesses as possible reach their potential.”

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The North East Business Support Fund has been helping North East SME’s to grow and develop for almost a decade. The fund is the longest established business support programme in the region, delivered by the fabulous team of expert business support people at NBSL.

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