LANARKSHIRE’S first centre dedicated to bouldering and climbing has launched after the business owner received specialist support, advice, and signposting to funding worth £8,000 from Business Gateway.
Officially launched in early 2021, Hang On Climbing Centre provides over 180 routes of bouldering, a type of rock climbing performed on small rock formations or artificial rock walls. Leaving behind ropes and harnesses and instead using safety crash mats for protection, bouldering is a form of free climbing that is high enough to be exciting, but not so high that the activity is hugely intimidating.
The family-run bouldering centre, based in Hamilton, boasts over 600 square metres of climbing wall built by some of the UK’s top wall builders and route setters, with routes ranging from beginner-friendly to those more suited to the advanced climber.
Business owner Matt Meyerhoff, who was previously a self-employed cabinet maker, fell in love with bouldering eight years ago, when he and his brother wanted to try out a new activity. After moving back to Scotland from Brighton, what started out as a hobby for Matt soon became the inspiration for a potential business venture whenhe spotted a gap in the market for a climbing centre in Lanarkshire.
Armed with a strong business idea but with no previous experience in running a business, Matt approached Business Gateway for help and advice on how to turn his passion into a profitable business.
Matt accessed a suite of Business Gateway’s start-up services, including 1:1 business adviser support, advice on a business plan, and advice on company regulations. This helped him to access essential funding to equip the Hang On Climbing Centre premises for its initial opening.
Matt benefitted from a specialist strategic review of his business plan, which helped to establish Hang On Climbing Centre’s key demographic and identify the key systems, operations, and procedures required to make the business operate and grow efficiently. Specialist marketing support was also accessed to help tailor Hang On Climbing Centre’s website and improve its overall performance.
Matt was able to develop his digital marketing strategy with industry experts from South Lanarkshire Council’s Expert Help Programme, which is exclusively accessed through Business Gateway. Thanks to the expert advice, Matt has been able to add new services such as loyalty cards, gift vouchers, and various membership options to help grow Hang On Climbing Centre further.
Working with Business Gateway, Matt was also signposted to South Lanarkshire Council’s Business Grant worth £8,000, which was put towards the development of a kid’s climbing area, specifically designed for younger climbers.
Hang On Climbing Centre has enjoyed considerable success since launching, with over 4,000 unique visitors to the centre within the first year of opening. The centre now provides the National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme as part of the lessons on offer, meaning that Hang on Climbing Centre can accredit individual achievements on artificial climbing structures. The scheme is a great starting point for people wishing to take up climbing and mountaineering, from novice to experienced, starting from age seven.
In addition, the centre’s team of ten staff has run three climbing competitions with free-to-watch finals, including the first round of the Scottish National Boulder League and an anniversary competition which attracted over 100 climbers. Matt and the team plan to run more competitions in the coming year.
Matt Meyerhoff, Hang On Climbing Centre, said: “I had little experience in starting running my own business and so I really needed some direction when it came to turning Hang On Climbing Centre from an idea into a reality. Business Gateway were just fantastic and really guided me through the whole process. I can’t thank them enough for their support.”
John Strachan, Business Gateway Adviser, said: “We were able to support Matt through a range of Business Gateway’s start-up services. Thanks to his hard work, Matt has cemented Hang On Climbing Centre as the go-to attraction in Hamilton and South Lanarkshire. As we approach the summer holidays, I’m looking forward to watching the business progress further.”
To find out more about how Business Gateway can help your business, visit https://businessgateway.com.