A former DJ and creative entrepreneur is bringing jobs and investment to Teesside, at the same time as putting the fun into funding.
Larger than life Shak Asghar has launched Nudl – pronounced “noodle” – with branding influenced by his love of bright colours, Japanese art and gaming.
The firm is in the serious business of offering businesses simplified access to grants by cutting through red tape and jargon, saving valuable time and generating income for strategic growth.
But Shak, who has a 20-year history of supporting businesses, loves to help fellow entrepreneurs succeed and grow – and wants them to have as much fun doing it as he does.
“I want to be able to support businesses and I want to be able to do it in a fun way,” said Shak, a proud “Boro lad” whose firm Nudl is also offering angel investment opportunities in return for an equity stake in businesses.
“We go through ideas in a creative way – it’s a creative process from start to finish where I ask customers, ‘What’s your shopping list?’ and then tell them how we are going to make it work using our years of experience in business support.
“Our strapline is ‘simplifying funding’ and we also believe the journey should be fun. We want to create an environment for our employees and clients in which everyone feels comfortable to get the job done to the highest level but, at the same time, enjoys the journey.”
It is clearly a recipe for success as in Nudl’s first six weeks in operation, it has already secured £1.5m of private sector investment into Tees businesses, of which £825,000 came from grant funding.
Shak said: “About 80 jobs have come out of this and we’ve also already picked up a major project on the consultancy side of our business, which will result in a multi-million-pound regeneration scheme.
“We are helping to create jobs in the Tees Valley and we want to create a feel-good factor.
“There’s a lot of growth potential in the Tees Valley at the moment with all these big investments coming into the area and we want to help businesses get ready to be part of the exciting opportunities coming our way.”
Despite having lived all over the world, Shak is proud to be setting up his company on Teesside with big growth plans to eventually have offices all over the country.
“The Tees Valley is where me and my business partner come from – and I always gravitate back to Teesside,” he said.
“We have our HQ here – although we will work with businesses on a national level – and we hope to develop offices around the country.
“We are putting our money where our mouths are as Tees Valley business investors, showing that we believe in Teesside.”
In fact, Nudl is going as far as launching a Dragon’s Den-style angel investment fund, where people propose their business plans to the Nudl panel, hoping to be successful for an investment in return for an equity stake.
“If we like their idea, we will provide them with the investment they need to launch and grow,” said Shak.
“It’s something that’s currently not being done here on Teesside – you have to go and get debt finance.
“Yes, we do take some of the equity, but in return you get a team of people investing in the business and we can inject all our experience into the business.
“If we make an investment, it’s in our interest to leverage grants and whatever help and support is needed.”
It is just one of the ways Nudl helps people realise their growth dreams, whether they’ve got their eye on a new piece of kit or need to invest in a growth marketing strategy.
The team helps businesses unlock grant funding that can’t be accessed easily, mainly because of jargon and red tape.
They are very experienced in how to structure an application so that businesses “get the best chance of unlocking the investment they need”.
Shak said: “The types of services we offer are initially focused on the growth side – the grant service.
“Funding has a barrier to it in the first instance, but we offer an accessible, friendly and approachable way to simplify things, turn that jargon into plain English and cut through the red tape.
“We also do business interruption claims and have been helping people with insurance claims around forced closures due to Covid, as well as R&D tax credits and start-up consultancy.”
The firm is currently consulting with an Irish engineering firm looking to open a centre of excellence, as well as working with a local authority, architects and private investors on a regeneration scheme that will potentially have a positive impact on a local High Street.
Shak explains the Nudl team is very clued up when it comes to regeneration construction projects for commercial use.
“We want to bring our fresh and vibrant way of thinking into consultation around regeneration,” said Shak. “We are focused on improving the world around us.”
Nudl has already helped a commercial cleaning company, a business in the health and wellbeing sector and an engineering firm with their growth plans.
“We have big growth plans ourselves too,” said Shak. “We are strategic growth people who get involved in businesses and scale them up and we will be approaching our own business in the same way.
“We are creating good, solid jobs in the local economy, but we only want the best calibre people on board.”
Shak believes that for businesses looking to access the financial support they need, there’s no better destination than Nudl.
“I want people to instantly think, ‘We will go to Nudl’ if they need some money in their business,” said Shak.
“If you’re a business looking to grow and looking for an investment, come and talk to Nudl.”
Email email@example.com, call 01642 133 183 or visit nudl.co.uk.