Leanne Spencer set up her company, Bodyshot Performance, three years ago after getting burnt out and disillusioned with the City. Merging her interests in health and business, Bodyshot creates “total solutions to optimise mind, body and wellbeing”, delivering products and coaching packages for individuals and corporations. Leanne has published two books, presented a TEDx talk, and chaired a panel on wellness at work at one of Workspace’s Business Insight Dinners last year. Her five-strong team are based at Workspace’s Parkhall Business centre.
At the start of this year, Leanne was exploring options for funding the growth of her company when she received an email from Workspace offering a free consultation on routes to finance. The consultations were with Informed Funding, who have partnered with Workspace for a number of years and offer financial guidance and finance workshops and seminars free of charge to Workspace customers and Club Workspace members.
“Often when people worry about finance they’re not sure what’s worrying them,” says Chris Dines, CEO of Informed Funding. “Companies might have finance issues because they’re doing extremely well, incurring bigger and bigger costs. Or in other situations perhaps they’re not aware of the options open to them. We provide an independent view on how they’re doing financially.”
Leanne booked herself in for a consultation and met Gary Jesson, an accountant and founder of EFM, a nationwide network of financial advisors. Gary suggested to Leanne that Bodyshot might qualify for R&D tax credits. “It hadn’t crossed my mind that we’d be eligible,” says Leanne. “I thought that was for people doing lab research.” In fact, R&D tax credits can apply to a broad range of businesses: if your company is attempting to “resolve scientific or technological uncertainties” by creating new products, processes or services or modifying existing ones, then it too could be eligible.
“Many people won’t even have heard of R&D tax credits,” says Chris Dines. “We can explain what might be available and direct them to the people who can help.” And R&D tax credits are just one source of the so-called “free money” available. “A lot of people think it’s all dried up,” says Chris, “but there are still routes for early-stage companies to access tax credits or innovation grants. There are a lot of regional and sector-based grants out there too.”
After Leanne’s initial consultation with Gary she was put in touch with Julia May, a business consultant. Julia thought that Bodyshot had a case. Why? Because with the consent of its clients, Bodyshot collects data including DNA and blood test results, as well as data from wearable technology. The hope is that this data will contribute to a better understanding of certain health risks. “The idea is to create a portal containing all that data where we can potentially spot trends in health,” says Leanne. “We’re exploring different ways to personalise someone’s health with a view to keeping them well and preventing disease.” Although Bodyshot is still in the collection phase, the company hopes eventually to apply an algorithm to the data that will be able to spot people with particular genetic predispositions and help them “prolong their healthspan”.
The next step was to meet tax specialist Ken Jones, who helped Leanne go through the numbers and build a case. “Six weeks later we got refunds for two years worth of tax,” says Leanne. Worth an initial £15k, this has the potential to be renewed in due course.
Bodyshot’s journey to funding took only three months from initial consultation. And best of all, it didn’t cost the company a penny.
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