January 2013 saw Portishead-based Community Interest Company (CIC), Fox Advising, celebrate three successful years in business – and has labelled support and advice provided by North Somerset Enterprise Agency throughout its start-up and growth as “invaluable”.
Steven Fox founded Fox Advising as a specialist impact measurement company which calculates the social, environmental or economic impact of organisations, in January 2010.
It is now the only company in the country which is licensed and qualified to give impartial advice, recommendations and training on all of the impact measurement tools on the market and as such, works with local authorities, universities, small social enterprises, charities and government-supported organisations, helping them to measure and demonstrate their impact and value.
Steven spotted a gap in the market for the creation of his company during ten years spent working within the Criminal Justice sector with a major charity specialising in advising, strategy and national project management
“I became frustrated at seeing projects being cancelled because they couldn’t demonstrate their value.” Steven explains. “I knew that with the right support they could.”
Having attended a Starting In Business course at North Somerset Enterprise Agency in December 2009, Steven was then put in touch with the our social enterprise specialist advisor Abdullah Ali-Ahmadi – and found Abdullah’s input so useful that he has continued to seek advice as the company has grown.
“Abdullah understands my business and where I want to take it and his advice has been invaluable.” says Steven. “For example he showed me why I should put time into good business planning, which has made a huge contribution to where the business is now.
“I’ve learnt that you can’t do everything in a day – instead you need to have a plan and strategy, be realistic, be prepared to work very hard and have a plan B. Being able to adapt has also been essential.”
In March last year, Steven found time to set up a second business, Fox Cycling, which is based on his passion and hobby in life. The social enterprise offers a wide range of services to get people cycling, from a ‘Balanceability’ learn to cycle programme for tots to Bikeability training in schools and mobile cycle maintenance and servicing. Steven’s longer term ambition is to set up a training centre linked to family supported accommodation for disadvantaged people, enabling them to gain skills and qualifications to work within the different sectors of the cycling industry.
With this and his hard work to ensure Fox Advising is well positioned as the impartial recognised voice of impact measurement and has an established team of associates to work with on different specialist areas, Steven says he never has a dull moment.
“We are achieving good things with our company,” he says. “For example we have won a contract with a leading UK university and a contract with a Government-supported charity based in Vancouver. We are making a difference – and we are where we are with the support and advice of our locally-based experienced business advisor, who has been with us every step of the way.”