Bosses at a thriving engineering business have praised a Bradford business support scheme for enabling them to launch the venture.

The directors of Keighley-based AGR Racking received hours of help from advisers at Rising Stars, a scheme run by Bradford Council and Bradford Chamber of Commerce.

Allan Barker, who runs the Keighley-based firm with Gavin Carter and Robert Worsley, said he would not have been able to get his plans off the ground in the current climate without support from Rising Stars.

AGR, which makes metal racks and storage systems for builders’ merchants, has seen sales and turnover run slightly ahead of plan since the business started trading in March last year.

Mr Barker said Rising Stars gave him the help needed to enable his ideas to come to fruition. After drawing up a basic business plan he had regular meetings with Rising Stars to help develop his plans which he used to secure funding.

He continued to use Rising Stars support to help get AGR Racking, which employs three staff, off the ground.

Mr Barker said: “I found dealing with the Rising Stars programme instrumental in bringing an idea for a business to reality. They gave me excellent advice and support and provided me with the tools to build the base of my business. They were always on the end of a phone or ready to talk to me, despite all the questions and queries I had.

“I have been able to now successfully approach investors and suppliers with a strategy for business. I now have the funding and the backing from suppliers to make this business work.

“I am very excited by where our business will go in the next few years and I can honestly say I wouldn't be in this position without Rising Stars. I would gladly recommend Rising Stars to anyone who has an idea or business they want to develop.”