Martin Prothero – Prothero Eyewear

Do you have a big idea for your business but need finance? Outset Finance is a government accredited Start Up Loans provider with a proven track record for supporting people in starting successful businesses.

If you are in your first year of trading, have been refused a loan from a bank and have a viable business idea, Outset Finance can give you free support and guidance for setting up your business, and help you get a Start Up Loan.

When a key employment contract ended, leaving Martin Prothero unemployed, he decided to start his own business, designing and manufacturing high-quality wooden spectacle frames by hand. Martin originally trained as an engineer before going on to practice as an artist, as well as working in environmental education for many years.

“I have always loved fine design and working with wood. I wanted to create a lifestyle where I made a living from making beautiful things. I wear glasses and found it difficult to find frames made out of natural products, so I decided to make my own wooden spectacle frames.”

With such a complicated, bespoke product to design and manufacture, Martin needed financial help to fund him through the development stage and to purchase manufacturing equipment. “It has taken a huge amount of time, far more than I thought, to plan my business and work out how to manufacture my product well,” says Martin.

When Martin found out about the free business start-up courses offered by Outset Bristol he was keen to get all the help and advice available to him. Having completed Outset Bristol’s business start-up workshops, Martin was referred to Outset Bristol’s sister company Outset Finance so that he could secure a £10,000 government-funded Start Up Loan to help with his business start-up costs.

“Outset Finance has given me the financial backing I needed to help me turn my business ideas into a reality. I needed a loan to fund essential manufacturing equipment and the development time for the product. I received guidance on how to put my business plan together and practical support in planning how to take the ideas forward. I am now having regular mentoring.”

The amount and quality of the pre-loan support on offer from Outset Finance is a unique offering for a Start Up

Loan provider. “The Outset Bristol business start-up training was extremely useful and invaluable in helping me start my business,” says Martin.

Martin’s beautiful spectacle frames are still in the prototype stage but he has ambitious plans for his new business.

“I want to create highly desirable and beautifully crafted eyewear that connects people to nature. All my products are to be eco-friendly in that they are made of responsibly sourced and recyclable materials. I will start by supplying frames in the UK and plan to do my first European trade shows next year.”