North Wales animal business scales up thanks to Start Up Loan support

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A North Wales based business and rehabilitation system for animal physical therapists has accelerated plans for growth with Start Up Loans support via the British Business Bank.

Equicantis works with animal physical therapists, in the equine and canine sectors, such as physiotherapists, massage therapists, bodyworkers, osteopaths, chiropractors, musculoskeletal therapists and rehab specialists.

It is the brainchild of Wrexham based Laura Clinton, a horse lover since childhood, and an Equine Musculoskeletal Therapist, qualified in Equine Sports Massage Therapy and Equine Musculoskeletal Manipulation Therapy, who has been practising for nearly 15 years in the UK, around the North West and North Wales.

Laura had become increasingly frustrated with how she was delivering exercise plans both in terms of the time it was taking and the level of service she was providing her clients.

“I was either handwriting plans at the end of an appointment or I was going home and typing them up, neither of which was ideal” explained Laura.

“I thought there had to be a better way, and this problem is what led to the creation of Equicantis.”

The business launched an exercise prescription offering in September 2021, and subsequently created lots of additional features over a two year period in order to help therapists with equine and canine home exercise plans in 14 countries.

Their work is delivered via a cloud-based web application that allows animal physical therapists to manage their businesses and also create bespoke, professional exercise plans for their clients using Equicantis’ library of over 300 equine and canine exercises.

“Equicantis 1.0 was fantastic, but it had always been our mission to incorporate a business system into our offering”, said Laura.

“And so, in February 2024 we launched Equicantis 2.0 and transformed from ‘Equicantis – Your Equine & Canine Exercise Prescription App’, into ‘Equicantis: The Business & Rehab System for Animal Physical Therapists’.

“It offers customers our existing exercise prescription platform, but now with a substantial business system incorporated, offering elements including appointment scheduling and diary management, owner and veterinary consent forms and session reports with anatomical diagrams for markup, and we still have lots of additional features planned for release within this version.”

The company is already working on Equicantis 3.0, plans which have been brought forward following Laura, and her husband Dave, both directors of Equicantis, accessing the British Business Bank Start Up Loan.

The British Business Bank Start Up Loans programme provides government backed loans of up to £25,000 per individual, up to a maximum of £100,000 per business.Green Day X Dickies

The loan capital has enabled Equicantis to bring in more development resources to allow the team to start working on developing the new 3.0 platform, which they plan to launch in early 2025.

It has also enabled them to bring forward their growth plans by increasing the outsourcing of marketing and business administration, allowing Laura and Dave to work on developing the wider business offering.”

“Our Start Up Loan has enabled us to bring our plans forward by at least a year”, Laura said.

“When we knew we needed to access funding to realise our ambitious plans, we were recommended to go to the British Business Bank by a business contact and immediately felt very supported. The low interest rates are obviously a massive plus point too.

“When you’re first starting out in business, most general commercial lenders say that you’re either too small to access them, or the interest rates are really high, so it’s amazing to have a programme like Start Up Loans that specifically supports smaller start-up businesses – because it’s when you need the help the most.”

Jess Phillips, Senior Manager for Wales at the British Business Bank added: “Laura has combined her love of animals and her skill as an Equine Musculoskeletal Therapist, with an admirable entrepreneurial spirit, to realise a remarkable digital product in Equicantis.

“Businesses like Equicantis are exactly why the Start Up Loans programme is so important. We want to support business people to exercise their specialist interests and realise their ambitions, and to ultimately launch and scale successful businesses.

“We’re thrilled to have supported Laura and Dave and can’t wait to see where they take this unique business next.”

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