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Case Study - DC Rolfe Ltd (est 1991)

Website -
Location - Ireland Industrial Estate, Staveley, Chesterfield

DC Rolfe Ltd is a family-owned precision engineering company which designs and manufactures precision metal parts. It also undertakes injection moulding of precision plastic parts.

The company was established by father and son Dennis and Guy Rolfe and, in 2010 was taken over by Guy and his wife Cheryle. It was then the couple started looking at the business and identified it needed to recruit more permanent skilled staff and invest in new machinery in order to secure the future of the company.

Cheryle Rolfe explains how, with the help of the Chesterfield Innovation Support Project, the company has accessed grant funding from D2N2’s Unlocking Investment for Growth programme, which is part of the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, enabling it to become more competitive, enter new markets and secure the future of the business for a third generation.

How did you become aware of the Business Innovation Project?

We had reached a stage in the business where, with ageing machinery, we were unable to compete in the marketplace. Additionally we were struggling to recruit skilled employees. Our accountant recommended we apply for D2N2テ「竄ャ邃「s Unlocking Investment for Growth fund and subsequently put us in touch with Paul Stuart, Project Manager at the ERDF funded Chesterfield Innovation Support Project.

How did the Business Innovation Project help you access funding?

Paul Stuart visited us and immediately identified that we had a problem with our image. Our premises, which were desperately in need of an upgrade, were preventing us from attracting bigger customers. Paul also identified that we could benefit from management training through the Growth Accelerator Programme, to help us recruit the right staff and improve our promotion of the business and corporate image. He then put us in touch with a Specialist Advisor who was funded through the Chesterfield Innovation Support Project’, Mike Gulliford, to support us in submitting our application to the Unlocking Investment for Growth programme and handhold us through the entire process.

How did you access the funding?

Before applying for any funding, we had to put the recommended improvements and a business plan in place. Firstly, we identified new premises which would not only improve our image but enable us to expand in line with our projected forecasts following the investment. Secondly Mike helped us develop a business plan and branding for the business. We also joined Destination Chesterfield’s Champions’ scheme, to immediately raise the profile of the business locally. After putting this in place we applied for funding from D2N2’s Unlocking Investment for Growth programme.

How much funding did you apply for?

We were able to apply for 25% of our total spend. We had to raise the remaining 75% ourselves for which we used a combination of savings and loans. At the end of three years we expect to have doubled profit and paid off all finance.

What will the funding finance?

The bulk of the overall investment has purchased two new machines, secured four existing jobs and by March 2014 we will have created a further four new jobs. It has also helped finance the move to our new premises and develop our corporate image with the creation of our first ever website to help us reach a wider audience.

How long did the application process take?

We applied for the funding in October 2013 and it was approved within eight weeks. We will have everything in place by March 2014.

How has the investment improved the business?

The investment has led to efficiencies throughout the business. We are a leaner, greener operation thanks to the new machines. They dramatically speed up the manufacturing process, reduce labour time and increase our capacity by 25%. The machines have also reduced our carbon footprint by at least 25%.

The machinery and image change of the business has made us an attractive, long-term employment proposition and we have been able to recruit new staff, two of which are apprentices who are undertaking higher engineering diplomas.

We want to retain our staff for the long-term and for them to be part of the team, so we have committed to investing in their ongoing training.

Already new customers have shown interest in what we can do and old customers are returning to us confident now that we can deliver their work.

How does the future of the business look?

The foundations have been laid for the long-term future of the business. Our son Wade has joined DC Rolfe and is being trained to eventually take it over and ensure it remains within the family.

We’re very excited by the business development opportunities the new machines offer us, particularly around product development. None of this would have been possible without the Chesterfield Innovation Support Project. It has opened so many doors for us and secured the future of the company.