Cat’s Writing Room in Andover is the latest company to receive a £500 Business Incentive Grant from Test Valley Borough Council.
Set up by Cat Randle in spring 2013, the business offers support to develop authors and poets, helps them identify funding strategies and puts together social media and promotional plans. Cat also provides a bespoke poetry and writing service.
Cat, who worked as a singing telegram in her early 20s, said: “The idea came from the time I secured £5,000 for Razbecks Writers. It’s important to understand I don’t apply for grants, I help organisations and small medium enterprises to look at which is the best fit from the options and then make sure their proposal is right for the fund they are applying to. There are things that often can get overlooked that can make a huge difference in writing an application. Often organisations are so busy they don’t have the time to look for what’s available to them.”
“The council’s help was vital in taking nebulous ideas and turning them into a concrete reality. I consistently saw there was a gap in the market for my expertise but it was Test Valley Borough Council that helped me refine the concept.
“At the moment I am offering a broad service but competition and demand will refine my offerings. There are simple things authors and poets can do that can make a big difference in their writing career. The internet plays a huge part but is often overlooked.”
Councillor Phil Lashbrook, who recently presented Cat with a cheque for £500, said: “Cat has done a tremendous job setting up Cat’s Writing Room. This is such a unique idea and I wish her all the best for the future.
“It can be incredibly daunting starting a new business but there is a huge amount of support out there. We are keen to develop a competitive local economy and I would urge anyone looking to set up their own company to contact the council to find out what help is available.”
So far, Test Valley’s grant scheme has helped more than 400 new companies and has played a part in the council being recognised as ‘business friendly’ by the Federation of Small Businesses for the past four years.
The £500 grants are available to anyone looking to set up their own business in Test Valley. Budding entrepreneurs should apply for the grant before they start their company and if it is still going strong six months later, they will receive the cheque.
For more information about the council’s Business Incentive Grants, please visit www.testvalley.gov.uk/grantsandfunding.
Cat added: “Andover is an interesting and vibrant community. It has a creative scene all its own and I’m grateful to be adopted into, and be able to find a way to contribute in a meaningful way to, the community.”