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Support from Start & Grow gives primary school children new learning resource

Our Business Advisor, Alyson, has been a great help - especially putting up with us both as we work on this in the evenings and weekends! It’s taken much longer than most applications because of this, but we’re thankful she has stuck with us! Sophie Cooper

Sophie Cooper is a Key Stage 1 Primary school teacher and whilst working with her Year 1 students she realised just how crucial the ability to read to an appropriate level was for her students. At the end of Year 1, students take the first test of their school career, testing their ability to read 32 out of 40 words correctly.

In 2014, one in four children failed to pass, resulting in these students falling further behind than the students who pass. Sophie knew that something needed to be done to address this, as the start of a child’s education is crucially important. “Learning to read is one of the first things we teach children when they start school. It is a skill they will use every day for the rest of their lives and one they cannot progress without.” said Sophie.  As a result, she set out with the aim to create the best resource in the world for teaching students how to read.

The challenges that Sophie has had to face were:

Looking for a way to monetise the app was initially a problem.
Finding funding for both the initial development of the project and also the marketing and launch of the app.
Getting the application into schools and homes.

The Start & Grow programme has given Sophie guidance through various applications for funding and the support has been invaluable in the launch of fonics.

It has also helped her to understand more fully some key business issues, and the scheme has shared contacts and knowledge with Sophie such as
how to fund projects in different and unconventional ways, like loans from the app developers which paid for the apps first three months of development.

Sophie Cooper is a client of Business West, delivering business support in the South West.

Under the Start & Grow programme Sophie received 30 hours of support and attended 2 training days.  £45,000 finance was leveraged and 2 jobs have been created.  Sophie also received one year’s free membership to the Business West Chamber of Commerce, and secured three additional year’s business support.

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