Lighting start-up expanding after third year of grow

A lighting and electronics start-up business in Nottingham has recorded its third consecutive year of growth and is expanding its footprint after diversifying.

Anne and Ian Kenyon launched Kenlock Electronics in 2015, which is based in East Leake, with a long-term vision of bringing OLED lighting to the mainstream market.

The duo have continued to grow the company’s turnover despite coming up against a number of hurdles in the OLED market after the switched-on couple quickly realised other ways that they could utilise their engineering expertise.

This included offering other companies access to their prototype manufacturing services and providing product safety compliance support and testing.

The business is currently averaging more than 70 consultancy jobs a year, working on anything from ensuring new lighting products are compliant with EU regulations to manufacturing prototypes of products for electric vehicles.

Three years on and the same equipment is still being used as the company moves away from purely OLED solutions, and the firm is now scheduled to expand when they move into their new workshop in Oakham, Rutland – where they are planning to upscale their prototype manufacturing and compliance work.

A £10,000 cash injection from the Baldwins Kickstart Awards in 2015 enabled them to purchase equipment and machinery to help get them up-and-running and begin making a profit.

The Baldwins KickStart Awards are open in England, Scotland and Wales for 18 to 25-year-olds to pitch their business idea. The winner receives a grant of £10,000 along with £10,000 worth of mentoring and business advice, while two runners-up each receive £5,000 worth of mentoring and business advice.

Ian shed some light on how one business idea began manifesting itself into a wider opportunity.

He said: “It wasn’t until we started trying to develop OLED products themselves that we began to understand the variety of obstacles involved in getting a product to market in terms of costs, creating prototypes and receiving regulatory approval.

“Given our engineering expertise in lighting and electronics, we knew that we could help other firms overcome these obstacles to start generating income.

“Around 90 per cent of our workload is consultancy-based at the minute, providing a vital income stream for us to hopefully continue our OLED work in the future.

“We are especially excited about the work we do with product designers to ensure their electronic products are meeting regulatory compliance. Product and safety testing are vital to the launch of any electronic product and we are able to use our knowledge and experience to help take the hassle out of this notoriously frustrating activity.

“The test lab we are opening in Oakham is really exciting, as it is vital to enabling us to capitalise on increasing demand so that we can begin recruiting staff.

“We’ve gradually built the business up since winning the Baldwins KickStart Awards three years ago, and with the equipment we purchased with the prize money – particularly our PCB printer and EMC equipment – we now have the ability to work for firms in any sector.

“We are very grateful for all of the help and support we have received from Baldwins – they have given us the confidence to give it a go and ultimately get Kenlock off the ground. We would encourage any young entrepreneurs to give Baldwins Kickstart Awards a go!”

Nicola Bridgeman, Partner at Baldwins’ office in Beeston, Nottingham, has been advising Kenlock Electronics since they won the Baldwins Kickstart Awards.

She added: “Initial investment is often the main factor in start-up firms thriving or failing, and Kenlock are a shining example of how to do it for any budding entrepreneurs out there.

“They’ve been savvy enough to purchase equipment that has enabled them to diversify, and will also help them to invest further in their work with OLED technology.

“If anybody has a great business idea that they need help pursuing then I’d urge them to apply for this year’s Baldwins KickStart Awards.”

The deadline to enter this year’s Baldwins Kickstart Awards is Saturday 31 August. For more informationvisit www.baldwinsaccountants.co.uk/kickstart/about
 
Photo caption: From left, Anne Kenyon and Ian Kenyon from Kenlock Electronics

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