Many budding entrepreneurs find that the hardest part of starting a business is not coming up with a winning idea, but finding the necessary information and support to back it up.
For Mike Back, an Edinburgh-based Australian who founded travel company Bacchus and Beyond, that was certainly the case until he was pointed in the direction of Enterprise Europe Scotland.
“Mike wanted to start offering tours of the wine country of Northern Italy, but he had no contacts or anyone to tell him about regulations and such in the region,” says Sarah McSkimming of Enterprise Europe Scotland.
“I was principally searching for local companies that would lease mini-buses, and had only found one, which was unsuitable,” continues Mike. “I was put in contact with Sarah and almost immediately had a list of 15 other potential places to try. I have since agreed a deal with one of these businesses.”
The unique nature of Enterprise Europe Scotland and the Enterprise Europe Network meant it could quickly succeed where other business organisations had struggled.
“This information was relatively easy to get hold of,” explains Sarah. “We have an extensive company database at our disposal and were able to put Mike in touch with those that matched his needs.”
Raised in a wine-growing region of Australia, Mike was originally inspired by a trip to the Piedmont region. His idea of taking groups of enthusiasts to the area to meet local wine makers, tour the vineyards and experience the wine-making process morphed into Bacchus and Beyond, which is now getting ready to begin taking its first customers to Italy.
“The whole experience so far has been really positive and that is a direct result of the information and support I got from Enterprise Europe Scotland,” affirms Mike, who already has one eye on the future.
“If this Italian adventure is a success, then I would like to move into other areas such as Portugal and Eastern Europe,” he says. “I am in contact with Sarah on a regular basis so I am sure I will be calling on her again when that day comes.”