Barnsley friends beat recession

4 November 2010

A recession might not seem the best time to set up as financial advisers – but that is exactly what two former school friends in Barnsley have done – and it is paying off.
David Irving and Robbie Gainey, who set up Aquila Financial Services a year ago, have moved into town centre premises and business is booming, thanks to help from Enterprising Barnsley.
The pair, who offer advice on mortgages, pensions, insurance and investments, have been surprised by how successful the first year in business has been – at a time when many established enterprises are struggling.
David said: “Many mortgage advisers particularly have shut down. But we have set up from nothing, with no clients and turned it into a profitable business. We are on target to achieve our anticipated turnover of more than £200,000 in only our second year of business”. 
The pair, who moved to Regent Street offices in the summer, took on another mortgage adviser in January and have just appointed another financial adviser to take on some of the work.
David and Robbie, who are both 29, put their success down to sheer hard work, their town centre location and business coaching help from Enterprising Barnsley.
“Enterprising Barnsley have really been a big help, with things like sorting out the website and accounts. Without them we probably would have got to this point eventually, but they have definitely helped us grow faster,” said Robbie.
Aquila has teamed up with local chartered surveyors Wilbys, who recommend their services to people looking for mortgages.
“Most of their clients are from the Barnsley area,” said Robbie. “And one thing people like about us is that we are straight talking people. And we are young. Apparently the average age for a financial adviser is 50 plus.”
The two friends went to Willowgarth High School together and then went on to work in financial services for different companies.
“We always dreamed of going into business together,” said Robbie. “But if you had said within a year of setting up we would be doing this well I am not sure I would have believed you.
“It just shows with determination and the right help you can succeed – even in the middle of a recession.”
The Enterprising Barnsley programme offers business support to Barnsley businesses with growth potential. Enterprising Barnsley has attracted £2.89m investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme. Enterprising Barnsley also runs networking events and provides office space throughout the borough.
Enterprising Barnsley is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency, Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre, University Campus Barnsley and Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to provide an integrated programme of business support. 
David Irving and Robbie Gainey can be contacted on 01226 231241.
For further information about Enterprising Barnsley, contact James Herbert, marketing and networks manager, on 01226 249590 or email
Additional media contact: Kate Betts on 01226 766900 or 07910 165 444 or email

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