A business duo who were both made redundant from the same manufacturing firm have started up afresh under their own steam.

Business partners Denise Meadows and David Roberts were given their cards in November from Energy Laser in Stone.

They have since ploughed their life savings and redundancy money into a new venture – X-Cel Profiles – also based in the Staffordshire town.

The pair have got their laser-cutting workshop up and running, and the firm has entered its first week of production, after help from Business Link West Midlands.

Denise, whose husband has also been made redundant in recent weeks, said: “We were given half an hour’s notice that our jobs had gone, and then the firm closed.

“I’ve had to re-adapt several times in my life so wallowing was not an option for me.

“My first thought was to start up a business of my own. David and I invested what there was of our redundancy settlement, and all our savings, into starting X-Cel Profiles.

“I read about the redundancy workshops in the paper and we both went along because while we knew we wanted to start up a business, neither of us had worked for ourselves before.

“I didn’t really know anything about the tax side of things but after attending the course, I can confidently work in the office as well as the shop floor.”

X-Cel now has a new laser cutting machine and the partners say they are optimistic that orders will continue to flood in, owing to David’s previous sales and technical role at their former company.

X-Cel has machinery that can cut steel to 20mm thick and other metals, for a range of purposes from one-off designs to mass manufacturing.

The company also carries out fabrication work and hopes soon to add welding to its range of expertise.

Denise said the firm is benefiting from the pair’s backgrounds in manufacturing.

She said: “I’ve been in the manufacturing industry for five years but spent 15 years managing a leisure centre, so I’m no stranger to change. I’m extremely optimistic about the future despite all the prevailing doom and gloom.

“We’ve had no financial backing, we’ve done it all ourselves, but we are applying for grants. Also we have great support from family and friends.

“We’re confident we have a great business and many good contacts. We’re determined to be successful.”

Jill Levens, director of small business advisory organisation Business Initiative, said: “X-Cel is a great example of what can be achieved by remaining positive and, strange as it sounds, being made redundant can be an opportunity to move on and improve your life.”