“The IW Lottery loan gave us the confidence to step up”
Brightbulb Design’s new era of rapid growth and expansion was kickstarted by a £20,000 loan from the Isle of Wight Lottery in 2019
At the start of 2019 Brightbulb Design was definitely a small business. Founded five years previously by Matt Jeffery, along with his wife Fiona and with his father Alan as financial director, it was a very successful design firm, operating from Matt and Fiona’s home.
Fast forward to 2022 and Brightbulb employs thirteen people and is preparing to relocate to even larger new premises. With further appointments on the horizon and a huge increase in business and turnover, Brightbulb is now in a different league. The days of working at the kitchen table are a distant memory and Matt is the CEO of a thriving, ambitious business.
“It’s been an incredible story for us as a business and I’m really proud of what we have achieved and how the team has grown,” Matt says. “Back in 2019 we knew wanted to make the step up and the help and support that the Isle of Wight Lottery gave us was crucial. We wanted to move to new premises and employ people to grow the team, but we needed the financial backing to be able to do that. The Isle of Wight Lottery loaned us £20,000, interest free, which meant we had the confidence to get started.”
Spring 2019 proved to be a pivotal time for Brightbulb Design. Moving to brand new offices at East Quay in Wootton, Matt hired full time designer Adam Hayles and full time web developer Shane Smith. Three years later, Adam and Shane are now managers of their own departments and Brightbulb has repaid all of its £20,000 loan. Matt says that the injection of cash from the Isle of Wight Lottery definitely provided the impetus for the business to grow.
“The Lottery loan gave us the confidence to step up. It helped us to manage cash flow and also to offset any risk attached to investing in the business. Appointing Shane and Adam really helped to revolutionise the business, which meant that we didn’t actually need to call upon the Lottery loan too much. The new work that they were able to produce grew the business as we hoped, but we always knew we had the Lottery money to back us up.”
Applying for the loan also cemented Matt and Fiona’s aims for the business. The approval from the Lottery loan panel tested their assumptions and confirmed that their direction was the right one.
“As part of our loan application we put together a five-year business plan. Getting our loan approved gave us a lot of confidence in ourselves, which then helps you to move forward with more momentum. It certainly was a turning point for us. Making the final repayment on the loan felt great too and I would certainly recommend it to other businesses who need help to make their next move.”
Brightbulb’s growth has been consistent and measured. Although the pandemic provided something of a change in direction, the business held steady and horizons didn’t move. Matt and his team responded to changing needs from an evolving marketplace. Today he’s very happy with the way Brightbulb has expanded and diversified.
“It’s been a lot of hard work in the last eight years, through good times and some stressful ones. With thirteen staff it’s quite a large business and a lot of clients rely on us. I’m just proud of the work that we’re doing and the people that we’re working with.
“The pandemic for us was interesting because we had a massive increase in business in terms of digital work, with less demand for design work. People suddenly needed websites and e-commerce solutions very quickly. Without events to attend, traditional design things like fliers and promotions weren’t required. We still had some of the our best months ever during COVID, mainly because of the amount of digital work that was required. It was a new emphasis really.
“We’ve got some of the best developers on the Island I believe, working not just in WordPress, but also with app development and more complex bespoke systems. We’ve heavily moved into 2D and 3D animation, including explainer videos, which has been very successful arm of the business.
“Our client base is growing off-Island and sectors like technology, hospitality, marine and manufacturing are areas we’ve seen a lot of growth. We work with Island businesses like WightFibre, Datum Electronics, Vectis Ventures, WRS Systems, The Royal Hotel and the Wildheart Animal Sanctuary. It’s relationships like these which have helped us to grow so steadily.
“We’re getting ready for another era now, when we relocate to the new business park at the Branstone Farm development in Arreton. We’ve come a long way from my dining room!”
Brightbulb Design is just one of the many businesses helped by interest-free loans from the Isle of Wight Lottery. Since its inception in 2001 the Isle of Wight Lottery has helped create thousands of local jobs by giving financial support to growing businesses. Whether your business is a new start up or an established business looking to move to the next level, you could get even bigger with the support of the Isle of Wight Lottery.
Isle of Wight Lottery loans are interest free.
Repayable over 1-3 years.
For any amount between £500 and £50,000.
The loaned money has to be used to create or sustain Island jobs.
Please complete both forms when submitting your application.