Outset. Sharon Grant and St Ives Pizza Co. Case studies

Outset Cornwall (YTKO) provides support and advice to those starting out in business and supports them throughout their journey. Outset gives people living in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly free support towards becoming their own boss.

The Outset Programme comprises 16 different workshops, support and mentoring and an exclusive networking group delivered in over 12 different locations around the county. The under-represented groups Outset support include: Women, 16-25, 50+, BME, single parents, long term unemployed, recently redundant or at risk of redundancy and people with mental or physical disability.But if you feel you aren’t represented by any of these categories, please contact us anyway as they still may be able to help.

Sharon Grant

Supporting people like Sharon Grant...

After being diagnosed with ME several years ago, Sharon Grant realised she needed to change her job and her lifestyle in order to cope with her illness.

Sharon always had a passion for floristry and loved being creative, so she decided

to research floristry courses and qualifications online and discovered a course being run nearby by a local college, which she signed up for straightaway. Once qualified, Sharon started working temporarily for other local florists through an agency and it was during this time that the opportunity to acquire another florist’s business arose.

  • One-to-one coaching helping you develop your ideas
  • Business start-up workshops helping you put together your business plan
  • Networking sessions helping you build those all-important connections


“When I started, I knew I needed to learn about things like accounts and the general running of a business. That’s why I came to Outset Cornwall, because I wanted to get on the right track and know how to do things properly.”

Since launching her business, Sharon has seen trade increase dramatically, and has even employed an additional part-time member of staff. “I think if you’re serious about starting a business, then you need to be serious about doing something like the Outset programme to get the help and back-up you need.”

Shelley Thornton & Vanessa Dain, St Ives Pizza Company, St Ives

St Ives Pizza Co

Offering advice on a new venture...

When partners Shelley Thornton and Nigel Gowers met Barrie and Vanessa Dain through their children attending the same local school, they quickly discovered they had a lot in common, including a desire to set up their own business.

Having quickly discovered a gap in the market for a pizza delivery company in their hometown of St Ives, the couples looked into franchises and other options before deciding to set a business up together, and came to Outset Cornwall for support.

“Between us, we have quite a broad knowledge of business, finance, customer service, regulatory and food service skills, and we all love food, so that helps! We knew that we lacked marketing knowledge and skills, especially in social media. We had heard of Outset Cornwall and Nigel had attended some courses, so we thought Outset might be able to help.”

Vanessa continues: “The Outset team were a brilliant sounding board for our ideas when we were setting up and really challenged us to make sure we were doing things correctly. They also kept us focused, pointed us in the right direction of other experts that could help and supported us every step of the way.

“It took us over a year to set everything up and even though we knew it would be a huge amount of work, we didn’t want to rush it. I’m sure at times, the Outset team thought it was never going to happen, but it all came together and one of our most memorable moments was finally presenting members of the team with one of our pizzas!”

Launched in May 2013, St Ives Pizza Company is based on Penbeagle Industrial Estate in St Ives, delivering pizzas, side dishes, puddings and drinks to residents and tourists in the town and its surrounding areas of CarbisBay and Halsetown.


One of the many unique features of the business is not only its collaborations with local suppliers such as Moomaids of Zennor, Cornish Orchards and St Ives Brewery, or the fact that the pizzas are inspired by and named after local landmarks. It’s that apart from being able to collect in person and receive a discount, St Ives Pizza Company will deliver to houses, campsites, guesthouses and even the beach if necessary!

Shelley said: “People love the fact we’ve used local names, local suppliers, have flexible delivery options, and that they can even come and see their pizza being made! It’s been such an interesting time and we’ve really enjoyed it so far. We just want to build on the excellent start we’ve had, thanks to the support from Outset Cornwall, and expand the business in the future.”

Outset is part of the YTKO group, a successful, private sector business with a team of over 80 staff. With more than 30 years’ combined private and public sector expertise the results YTKO deliver and the evidence they have gathered-are recognised in the UK and Europe by start-ups and global corporations alike.

Thursday 6 February 2014