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Social enterprise CCORRN reduces landfill with Growth Works’ support

Written by Growth Works

The Cambridgeshire Community Reuse and Recycling Network (CCORRN) is a social enterprise based in March, that reinvests profits into their local Fenland community.

Their income is made from repurposing, reinventing, and remanufacturing products that would normally go to waste.

CCORRN’s main revenue stream is the remanufacturing of surplus paint, one of the main contributors to landfill. Surplus paint is manufactured into either ReColour, RM or bespoke paint ranges – giving it a new lease of life.

They have different sales outlets, including a retail and factory shop in Wisbech, 25 wholesale distributors around the UK, and an online shop. They have a partnership with Dulux and also create specialist water-based paint lines such as chalk-effect, masonry, gloss, and satin.

From the revenue made from paint sales, they give back to local people in Fenland who are most in need through their schemes –

  • ‘Box of Rainbows’ – for local children suffering chronic illness, bereavement or hardship
  • ‘Free4Good’ – offering free paint for Cambridgeshire community groups
  • ‘Food4Good’ – providing upto 200 local people with food
  • Giving volunteers training opportunities and skills to help further their careers

 

Building a more efficient, user-friendly website would help GH Display continue to respond quickly to changing market demands, and to grow. But the pandemic’s impact meant they didn’t have the financial reserves to invest upfront in a new website.

The challenge: Scaling up production to reduce waste quicker and meet demands

When CCORRN started their paint recycling service in 2013, they were mixing in small fifty litre batches. They’ve been growing production ever since and are currently at a point where they need to scale up with new equipment and staff because the demand is bigger than they can meet. They’re also receiving more unused paint than they can handle.

Their goal is to save one million litres of paint from going to landfill by the end of 2023. But with any business scaling and growth plans come challenges.

Originally, they had planned to keep increasing their capacity incrementally over 2-5 years. They were in a cycle of always stunting their progress based on cash flow, having to save up before buying any new equipment. This also brings difficulties to employ and train new staff.

During the pandemic the company was in survival mode – reacting rather than being proactive. Nikki DiGiovanna, the Development Director of CCORRN, started to look at funding and business support opportunities to create “clarity in the goals they were setting” alongside a solid business plan.

The solution: Rapidly reducing the timescale for growth with investment in equipment

CCORRN has been offered a large capital investment through Growth Works. They are using this to hit the ground running with their growth plans, investing in larger equipment that will inevitably require hiring new staff to fulfil manufacturing needs.

“The Growth Works funding was perfect as it’s about accelerating that growth… it’s not that we can’t do these things, it’s about how fast we can do them, how fast we can grow – that’s the big difference for us. Do we want to wait another 2 years until we can go to that next level?”

 

It’s not that we can’t do these things, it’s about how fast….

Nikki also explained that CCORRN had “been struggling with our carbon-footprint. As an eco-organization, we really wanted to improve what we were doing… we’re marketing a recycled product but using a diesel van to collect and deliver it” and “were agonizing over this big cost of going even greener and how we would do that” but funding available with Growth Works will help them buy an electric van.

This is a critical step towards their net-zero business model ambitions – as Nikki describes, purchasing eco-friendly equipment “is expensive and requires a level of investment that is hard to justify when you have immediate expenses”.

Now they can make ‘green’ deliveries sooner than expected with an investment that will pay off for years to come being able to have some support through this grant to purchase that means…. “we will reap the benefits when it comes to lower fuel costs and lower repair costs going forward, we will save money in the long-run.”

The outcome: Scalable manufacturing processes and plans to implement an educational system for recruitment

With funding now available to scale their manufacturing operations, CCORRN are reviewing their systems and processes to ensure they are remaining strategic.

Growth Works are helping to set up an educational system to attract, hire, and retain dedicated employees from the local area. With this talent programme, CCORRN will be able to increase their future output by 400% and provide training for essential skills.

Their business plan is solid, as Nikki explains, “what we now have is a very clear plan”, with equipment and vans on pre-order. Their next steps involve bringing forward the new team hires. Nikki told us she’d highly recommend eligible businesses to apply:

“If you have a clear plan for growth and you want to accelerate it, this is a really good programme”.

 

We can’t wait to see the progress that CCORRN makes next – Growth Works has given this brilliant social enterprise the ability to structure and set expectations, ready to start 2022 with a bang!

Would you like to learn more about how Growth Works could help your business grow and scale? Click here to check your eligibility and tell us about your business to join our programme.

Written by Growth Works, Editorial team
Supporting growth ambitious and fast-growing businesses in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough to plan for bigger, scale faster and stay ahead of the game.

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