“Working with Oxford Innovation was extremely useful as from a new business perspective they know what funding and grants are available which has really helped our company move forward,” said Charles McKay, Chief Financial Officer of Wildanet.
Wildanet provides superfast wireless broadband solutions to residential and business customers in hard to reach areas of rural Cornwall. They have been offering their communications experience since March 2018.
Wildanet currently employs fourteen members of staff with the mainstay of the employees being from the Cornish vicinity.
Charles and his team worked with Oxford Innovation on several subject matters including learning about the various avenues of funding to consider through the ‘Access to Finance’ programme as Wildanet were looking for capital investment to roll out their fixed wireless internet service.
One of the drivers they were looking to create was a promotional fundraising video to help the business attract key investment. Access to Finance were able to grant fund 50% of the video production costs.
The video proved a vital awareness building tool as the campaign helped Wildanet raise an impressive £1.3 million pounds to develop the foundation of the business.
Access to Finance also carried out a grant diagnostic and identified the BIG2 grant programme. They then supported Wildanet in the application process. The grant was an essential way for the business to target its priority locations in South West Cornwall.
Charles added: “The staff at Oxford Innovation are extremely helpful and really easy to deal with. They are crucial in enabling small companies like ours to realise our vision and highlight what funding is out there to pursue. They were pivotal to us achieving our funding goals in the fledgling months of our existence.
“At Wildanet we are proud to be providing a service to the people of Cornwall. We are delivering a future proofed infrastructure that will be able to change lives, whether it’s a child being able to do their homework or a farmer not having to wait hours for essential information to download.”
Charles concludes by giving advice to anyone considering contacting Oxford Innovation. He said: “My tip would be to seek out whatever advice is available to you. Oxford Innovation were enormously helpful showing us exactly what was out there for the business to access. They can provide you with information you might not be able to find on your own.”
Wildanet’s business goal is to reach 12,000 new customers in the next three years.
Heather Coupland, Programme Delivery Manager with Access to Finance, said: "It’s useful for businesses to have support around what funding is available and how to access it.
“Access to Finance supported Wildanet in helping them navigate the funding landscape, both locally and nationally. We were able to transfer some of our knowledge about finance sources, which was inevitably important for Wildanet when they were looking to attract capital for their profile and fundraising exercise [video production].
“It’s great for the County when a potential employer and service provider like Wildanet, chooses Cornwall as its base. This brings jobs to the region, breeds business confidence and in the case of its broadband service will fundamentally create a sufficient infrastructure for a network of connectivity across rural areas, on a residential and business footing.”