Start Up Loans
Region: North West
Location: MediaCityUK, Salford
Programme: Start Up Loans
One of the region’s foremost marketing agencies, ZEAL Creative counts some of the world’s biggest brands as its clients. The agency, which was founded in March 2014, has produced inspirational content and campaigns for the likes of Castrol, Johnson & Johnson and Weetabix, and continues to win clients.
Stewart Hilton and Robert White, the founders of ZEAL Creative, had already helped to build one marketing company but they dreamed of running their own business. Despite a turbulent economy and the risk associated with leaving stable, successful jobs, Stewart and Robert set out to found their own agency and disrupt the marketing industry.
Looking for finance to kick-start their new venture, Robert and Stewart turned to the Start-Up Loans Company, which agreed to a £9,250 loan. This enabled ZEAL Creative to buy office equipment and cover overheads, and the support that the Start Up Loans Company provided helped Robert and Stewart navigate the first few months of the business development. In addition, the ‘Business Canvas Workshop’, provided by the Business Growth Hub, gave Robert and Stewart the chance to create clear business strategies and plan for the future.
The clients soon started rolling in for Stewart and Robert, and ZEAL Creative quickly gained a reputation for excellence.
Stewart Hilton, Creative Director of ZEAL Creative said: “My partner and I had always dreamed of creating our own agency from scratch and when we noticed that clients were searching for faster, more creatively connected partners we made the break and set up ZEAL. ’
“When the Start-Up loan scheme extended its criteria away from just focusing on recent graduates, it just gave us enough finance to say ‘yes, we can go and chase this dream.’ Just to have that one piece of the puzzle in those early years, along with all the mentoring and support that came with it, was an essential part of our development.”
Since the start-up loan, ZEAL Creative has generated £700,000 of turnover in its first year with projections of £1.7 million in year two. ZEAL Creative now employs eleven members of staff at its Salford offices.