Family-run printing firm supported to upgrade IT

Dave Dent Printers was founded in 1983 by Dave Dent. 37 years later, the business is run by Dave’s son and daughter-in-law from the same premises in North Tyneside. The business provides printing services locally and nationally to businesses and individual customers. The team of five is proud of the hands-on, personal service they provide and all the staff members have been with the company for many years, often seeing the role as a job for life. 

It’s one of the North East business which has received support from the North East Business Support Fund which is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund, with the business being awarded a grant of £2,956.67.

The pandemic had a devastating impact, causing the business to close its doors for the first time in its history.

Lesley Dent, who now runs the business with her husband Dave, made use of the furlough scheme to keep staff employed, however the support on offer did not cover the losses that the business experienced during the weeks of lockdown and, as a self-employed, business owner, Lesley was not eligible for the SEISS support, and a claim on the company’s business interruption insurance was denied.

The grant enabled the business to upgrade its IT equipment to allow the team to work remotely when required.

Lesley Dent said: I personally bought a couple of other items to fully upgrade our computer side of things, which I would never have done without the grant help for the bigger items. We are now future-proof going into 2021, rather than worrying about what will break next after another lockdown.”

Without the support, the business would have had to prioritise maintaining its printing presses, and would not have been able to upgrade its IT.

When asked what’s next for Dave Dent Printing, Lesley said: Surviving 2020! I have one member of staff retiring on 31 December at 72. He has had to shield for most of the year and has decided this is the year to call it a day. The other four staff are over the moon to not be receiving a redundancy notice and that I will make sure their jobs are 100% safe until at least the end of the financial year in April 2021.

“We are already working smarter. I am increasing the staff’s hourly rate when they return to work on the next government job support scheme, as the minimum wage rate increase was not applied to the furlough amounts from the government in April or October. The staff have all agreed to drop weekly hours when they return and we are reducing our opening times for the customer shop front. This creates a much better work-life balance for everyone and my staff are all happy to have the daily free time and in return are working harder in a shorter time for slightly better wages.

“Long term we all want to make the 40 and 50 year anniversaries of the business.”

The North East Business Support Fund is administered by North East Enterprise Agency NBSL

NBSL is approved by BIS, Customer First, and Investors in People and has a team of experienced accredited business funding advisers, who work with people and businesses across the North East to identify solutions that aid development and growth.

NBSL relaunched The North East Business Support Fund (NEBSF) in 2018. The inaugural round of funding was launched in 2012, since then NBSL has provided funding and support to businesses from an array of sectors spanning all corners of the region with a recent impact report finding that the fund has yielded an impressive £4.40 economic boost for every £1 invested.