GRANTS: Sheffield machinery firm booms on innovation, public money and mentoring

From left: Angela Naylor, Sam Webster, Belinda Naylor and Cath Webster.
From left: Angela Naylor, Sam Webster, Belinda Naylor and Cath Webster.

A Sheffield industrial machinery manufacturer is flying high after funding new products and a marketing drive with taxpayer grants of more than £100,000.

Webster Technologies is famed for its ‘Rockwheel’ cutting attachment which chews up concrete with ease.

It has spawned a range of equipment which has been used to create new footings in the Maldives and for the Forth Bridge, and for tunnelling for Crossrail and the Channel Tunnel.

More recently the business designed equipment to help lay optical fibres.

Now its products are being showcased internationally after working with the Enhancement Project, part of the Growth Hub run by the City Region.

The scheme gives firms bespoke advice and grants of up to £10,000.

Webster Technologies, based on Holbrook Industrial Estate, Sheffield, is led by three sisters-in-law and design engineer Ian Webster.

Angela Naylor is the managing director and a family member. She leads the financial and commercial operations and has worked closely with the business specialists in the Sheffield City Region to ensure all their systems and processes are leading edge.

She said: “We’ve been really delighted with the help and advice we’ve had. We were signposted to many areas of support such as the grant aid that has not only helped us regionally, but in our exports too.

“Not only that, the dedicated Masterclasses were fantastic and we have been advised of other support for innovation and skills development.”

Sister-in-law Belinda Naylor leads on business development and was instrumental in achieving a second grant, for £112,210, from Innovate UK to develop their latest invention, a hydraulic ‘impactor’ which is quieter, has up to four times the power and uses 20 per cent less fuel than conventional industrial hammers.

Now, it is set to be unleashed in a multi-million-pound market.

Cath Webster, HR director, works alongside her family. She said: “We all contribute to the growth and success of the business.The dynamics are incredible and we collectively produce results.”

Ian Webster is chairman and technical director. He said: “The ladies are my ‘firewall’ and I know the business is in safe hands while I focus my time on designing new products.”

Alexa Greaves, chair of the Growth Hub Board, said: “I’m very proud the firm has three women all in strategic roles.”