A panel maker set up with the redundancy cheques of its founders is aiming high in the aerospace sector after being helped to achieve an industry-wide standard.
Warren Boote and Derek Godfrey set up Aermotive in Nuneaton four years ago when their former firm Abbey Panels collapsed.
The pair, both shop-floor workers at Abbey, set up Aermotive as a specialist panel maker working in low volume and niche markets including prototyping work.
It has continued to operate in the automotive sector but is also moving into the aerospace market after being helped to achieve the AS/EN9100 - after linking up with the Manufacturing Advisory Service.
Mr Boote, who is joint managing director of the company, said: "We were two lads from the shop-floor at Abbey, and decided to give it a go. At the time I think we needed locking up.
"We used our redundancy money and our savings to get everything up and running. It was very tough at first; we had to start everything from scratch.
"This business is all about contacts and we knew absolutely no one. We were sitting in the office going through the Yellow Pages and vintage car books; this is where we started.
"Absolutely everything went into keeping the company going. Nobody said 'here's £50,000 of work to get you started'.
"For the first two years we ploughed everything back into the company."
After the first 18 months Aermotive took on its first staff and now employs six people at its base on the Attleborough Industrial Estate.
The company continued to work in the automotive sector, but has also branched out.
Mr Boote said: "It was very tough, especially in the automotive industry which has been collapsing.
"Our thinking was if we were going to make a living there might be a niche market, low volume and prototype work. Bigger companies need big projects to service their large overheads, and lots of this volume work is going to India, China and Poland.
"But because we specialise in hand-made panels, we are able to compete."
Mr Boote and Mr Godfrey contacted MAS-WM to see how their company could access advice and funding to move Aermotive forward.
They met with specialist manufacturing advisor Iain Robertson, who explained how securing AS/EN9100 - the aerospace industry standard - would win help win more work.
Mr Robertson located a service provider, Solihullbased Tec Transnational, and was able to access 50 per cent Lift Off funding to help Aermotive achieve the aerospace accreditation.
The help from MAS included £6,000 of matched funding while Aermotive was able to utilise the MAS sourcing service.
Aermotive is now on the path to supplying Boeing after being shortlisted by the American aviation giant. Mr Boote said: "Having the AS/EN9100 has opened doors for us. We've been to a Boeing convention in London where we went through vetting procedures and interviews.
"Now we are on another shortlist to be able to quote for sheet metal work for Boeing."
Aermotive, which has sales of close to £500,000 also makes panels for the general market including computer stands and machinery guards.
Mr Boote added: "We have been extremely busy over the last two years and we want to grow, but within our market.
"Hopefully we will be able to take on another two people in the next 18 months and to have a company with ten people in a good solid market niche would make us more than happy.
"I don't regret setting up the company at all. Sometimes you sit down and think why, and it does get stressful.
"We are still learning, and it came as a bit of a shock to run our own company. But now everything is beginning to come to fruition."