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GB Seasons are a start-up trading business exporting premium fruit and vegetables to the Far East. As with so many other businesses the impact of the pandemic was dramatic, effectively directly incapacitating their business.

Owner Mike Soulsby commented, “My business is built around the export of fresh produce such as strawberries into Asian markets such as Japan and Hong Kong. I left my previous job and went full time at the start of March, just as the pandemic was taking hold. Initially of course I feared the worst. Every shipment is air freighted so the immediate reduction in flights pushes up freight rates which I thought may well price my products out of the market. In addition, like many involved in agriculture in the UK, I was concerned that not enough seasonal workers would be able to travel to the UK to pick the fruit for the growers I buy from. As things have turned out there have been enough pickers at farms so far and I have been able to start exporting some volume, although the logistics situation has made things much tougher than I had originally planned”

Empiric Partners worked closely with GB Seasons to help turn a negative situation into a positive including raising game-changing levels of funding to not only survive the crisis but also provide the critical working capital to support future growth plans.

Mike commented; “EP offered an independent perspective of my business plan and highlighted the areas to which I should pay special attention. They helped me with my initial business planning particularly regarding cash flow which is such a key ingredient to sustain my type of trading business. They subsequently assisted me to apply and secure a Start Up Loan which has given me the funds to cover initial expenses such as marketing and materials costs. Regular contact with their business adviser has also given me some great contacts such as Money Corp who now help me manage my FX cover and a packaging manufacturer who I am now buying stock from. Despite challenging circumstances, I am optimistic about the future and excited about planning the next phase of growth for my business”