A former footballer has transferred his sporting prowess to the world of business, setting up a new company specialising in the transfer of logos on to clothing.
Neil Simpson, who was signed to the Sunderland team as a schoolboy, has launched Element Transfer, a screen printing business which creates and transfers logos on to all forms of clothing.
Simpson, now 36, opted not to pursue his career as a professional football and has spent the past 16 years working in operations for large manufacturing companies and most recently in a management role at a well-known sports graphics firm.
He decided to transfer his professional experience and love of sport in to setting
up his own business and his Seaham-based company has already won contracts with premiership football clubs and English county cricket clubs to create and print logos on to a wide range of sport shirts.
The business, which offers a one-stop shop from creating and cutting logos to transferring them on to garments, is looking to build on its success in the sporting world but hopes to develop relationships with corporate clients across all sectors.
Six members of staff are employed during the busy summer period but Simpson has plans to expand his workforce in line with his growing order book and expects to employ three permanent staff members together with seasonal workers by the end of 2014.
The Sunderland-born businessman turned to the Ready for Business programme, an investment readiness programme delivered in the North East by enterprise agency Tedco Business Support, for support and advice in getting his business off the ground.
He said: “I had first-hand experience of the market and therefore had confidence in my business plan and knew that my manufacturing background would enable me to set up a lean, efficient operation that would allow me to compete on price as well as quality.
“I wanted to set up a one-stop shop which would give me greater control and more space to manoeuvre in terms of margins – savings I can pass on to my customers.
“That said, I was keen to discuss my plans with an experienced business adviser who could pick fault and offer advice. I met James the Ready for Business adviser from Tedco and he was fantastic, offering me sound advice and sharing useful contacts to ensure that the business framework was in place from the very beginning.
“No matter how much experience you have and how much you know your market, having someone to support and advise you and act as a sounding board in the early stages is hugely beneficial.”
Ready for Business is supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund and Barclays. So far the programme has created more than 3,500 new jobs across the UK, 500 across the North East.