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Why WRAP wants to show that it's not all about the money

The recycling and waste management sector is currently experiencing an intense period of growth and innovation which is likely to continue for some years to come. In order to meet Government targets for the recycling of household and commercial waste by 2020, the UKs recycling capacity needs to grow by at least 60 per cent. Although challenging, this creates exceptional opportunities both for existing companies and new entrants into the market. However, many pioneering companies in the recycling sector find that managing growth effectively is a very difficult task. Most are small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and do not necessarily have the broad range of innovation, investment, expertise and management skills inherent in their businesses to enable them to grow at the required pace. Many are simply too busy with the day-to-day demands of running a business to be able to plan for the longer term. This is where WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) comes in. WRAP runs a unique one-stop shop for recycling companies wanting help with a whole range of business issues. The range of support available has grown substantially over the last couple of years as Ian Wardle, Head of WRAP Business Support, explains: A lot of recycling companies will be familiar with some of our services, such as eQuip, our residual value guarantee scheme, which is aimed at helping businesses secure lease finance for vital equipment. While this scheme continues to be extremely successful to date eQuip has secured more than 300 assets valued in excess of £17 million there is a danger that recycling businesses think this is all we do. Theres much more support available. This is a message echoed by some of the businesses that have approached the organisation for help. For instance Rod Gifford, Managing Director of Giffords Recycling Limited, says of WRAP: At first I thought it was a grant-based operation to try and boost recycling but actually its much deeper and wider than that. In fact, WRAPs one-stop shop offers comprehensive business support, from assistance in developing business plans to attract finance, to funding of senior management training and protection of intellectual property rights. The support is tailored to the needs of a particular business and applicants are not limited to when they can apply or indeed, how many times they can apply for help. One company which has benefited from combined support from WRAP at several stages of its business is Brand & Rae, a manufacturer of recycled content construction products, based in Scotland. Managing Director Gary Bell says: The big advantage of WRAPs one-stop shop is that youre dealing with the same people, they get to know the business, you get to know them and there is confidence on both sides which enables a relationship to develop. Many companies coming to WRAP for help with one aspect of their business find that the organisation can identify and resolve other barriers to success of which they were unaware. The Woodhorn Group Ltd, a successful composting company, is one example. It originally approached WRAP for funding support and marketing advice, but also ended up receiving help with its intellectual property rights (IPR). John Pitts, Managing Director, says: The IPR support we had was really unique. It wasnt something wed ever really thought about, the fact that we needed to consider trademarking our logos and so on. It was WRAP that brought this concept to our attention. Another unique aspect of WRAPs one-stop shop is their hands off approach. Ian Wardle explains: Being a not-for-profit organisation means that we can offer truly impartial advice. Were not interested in gaining control of a business or owning shares our whole purpose is to make sure that SME recyclers and reprocessors continue to own, manage and grow their own businesses. This was certainly the experience of Green Glass, a company producing unique glassware from recycled bottles. WRAP provided it with technical support and funding for an interim manager. Managing Director Glenn Slade says: One of the good things is that WRAP lets you go out and find your own interim manager. They dont say use this person, they say OK, you need an interim manager; you go out and find just the right person. David Wilson, Managing Director of Irish Polymers, supports this view. His company had help from WRAP to develop a business plan in order to establish the first plastic bottle sorting facility on the island of Ireland. He says: The business plan was led by us and I dont think theres any point in having a consultant-led business plan. You must drive the business plan and use other peoples expertise to finish it. In the last year alone, WRAP has provided in-depth support to over 160 businesses. Among other milestones, it is responsible for 70 recycling businesses attracting significant investment. The message for recycling companies is clear: WRAP means business. Learn more about business support from WRAP on stand 1238 throughout RWM 2007. WRAP is also offering free one-to-one business consultations at the show which can be booked online at www.wrap.org.uk/business_support

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