Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)  


Claudia at copmuter

Social media expert Jo Friend has set up and launched her own digital marketing business following a £6,000 loan from SWIG Finance.

Based in Glastonbury, Jo Friend Digital aims to help small business in Somerset adapt to the growing requirement of companies to take care of their digital marketing.

Company owner Jo Friend has been working in the industry since the mid-1990s when she started working with early websites and online channels.

Since then, she has worked for a range of businesses, from multi-national companies to large public sector organisations and until April last year was working for a national Bristol-based charity.

Following redundancy, Jo decided she has enough of the commute to the city and is now enjoying getting to know the small business community in Somerset.

Supported by a government-backed Start Up Loan via South West delivery partner, SWIG Finance, Jo has invested the £6,000 loan on her website and her own marketing. She is also receiving business mentoring from the Truro-based organisation which has offices and personnel around the South West.

“The time came,” said Jo, “to decide whether I wanted to continue commuting backwards and forwards to Bristol or if I wanted to use my experience to set up my own business. I chose the latter.

“I’ve been working with websites and online channels since 1995 so I know the industry pretty well and I’ve decided to use the skills I’ve developed over the past 20 years to provide services with an initial focus on social media for small businesses around Somerset.

“I can help with everything from strategy development and training to management of social media and there’s a widespread lack of understanding as to how it can be used effectively.

“The other thing is that small businesses assume they have to do everything, but without a clear focus on exactly what they want to achieve. That’s key, because small businesses lack time and resources so it’s important that they spend their time and money effectively.”

Jo, who is 44, has lived in Glastonbury for 14 years and she said she is enjoying getting in touch with her local business community: “It’s been great to be able to meet and deal with people locally, which isn’t something I’d be able to do when I was communting to Bristol every day. Glastonbury’s an interesting place and there are many small businesses all over Somerset who I know I can support, so I’m looking forward to sharing my knowledge and helping them moving forward.”

Lisa Moore, Programme Manager at SWIG Finance, said: “Jo’s services are going to be in high demand and we are delighted to be able to support her business with a loan to get it up and running.

“We wish her every success with her business in the future.”