Case study

Free business consultancy helps 'energy from waste' firm

Environ Ltd, a specialist solutions provider to the ‘energy from waste’ sector, received free business consultancy through the Derbyshire Accelerator programme. This came at a critical time for the business, as Sales Manager, Chris Hughes and Project Manager, Gareth Bennett explain here.

Why Environ wanted support

Environ Ltd provides specialist solutions for customers working in the following industries: landfill gas, biogas (Anaerobic Digester) biomass, and high temperature treatment of hazardous wastes. These solutions reduce transport and disposal costs for processing waste, and can convert waste into electricity and hot water, which can then be used for process heating and to offset electrical site loads.

With energy costs at an all-time high, and pressure on firms to start to transition to net zero carbon business models, the company had promising growth prospects but needed support to make these a reality.

“We had tendered for several large projects which, if secured, would lead to a rapid and significant growth of our business. So, we felt we needed some business planning support to prepare for this expected growth.”

— Chris Hughes, Sales Manager at Environ

The help provided

Environ received an email from our University about the Derbyshire Accelerator programme and got in touch to find out more. As a small business based in the High Peak area, it was entitled to funded support under this scheme. 

The firm received five days of fully-funded business consultancy from Annette Rothwell, an experienced Vice President-level executive and board member. Annette works with the University on several programmes and advises businesses on aspects such as general management, procurement/supply chain, operational excellence, negotiation, and project management.

Gareth Bennett, Project Manager for Environ, explains how Annette helped: “She first took us through an assessment of our business to work out where we were. She scored us in certain aspects, such as quality, training, resources, and so on. Together, we were then able to identify where improvements needed to be made, such as to our quality management systems and procurement processes.” 

Chris adds, “Annette also confirmed our thoughts about what new roles we would need in the team, and advised us on person specifications and job descriptions. Plus, she provided really valuable insights that helped shaped our approach to contract negotiations, including what each party would expect to get out of it and what was, and wasn’t, worth negotiating on.”

"Annette is a fabulous resource because she has so much experience. We couldn’t have asked for anyone better."

— Chris Hughes

The impact of this support

As a result of this consultancy, Environ now has a clear growth plan, which is ready to be implemented as soon as the new contracts are secured. New job roles are agreed, and the team is ready to recruit for these when the time is right. Several existing jobs were also secured, as these roles and employees are a vital part of the future expansion plans. In addition, Gareth and Chris said they felt much more confident and prepared going into the new contract negotiations.

“Without this support, we would have been less prepared for growth and less equipped for negotiations. We would have been reactive rather than proactive.”

— Chris Hughes

About Derbyshire Accelerator

Derbyshire Accelerator was one strand of the East Midlands Accelerator Programme. East Midlands Chamber led the programme, with other partners in Derbyshire including our University, Derbyshire County Council, Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire and The Food and Drink Forum. The project was part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund.

Derbyshire Accelerator has now closed but you can explore our other funded support programmes for businesses.