TEESSIDER Billy Myers wasn’t stumped for long when he found himself out of work.
For the one time catering worker from Nunthorpe decided to turn his hand to something altogether more environmental - and his biofuel business has just enabled him to take on three apprentices.
Billy, from Nunthorpe, set up Stumps as a tree surgery business originally.
But he branched out into the production of wood and wood pellets for biomass burners and is now working with engineers to design his own boiler.
Now his 16-year-old son Matthew and two other apprentices have joined him to help run the woodland biofuel company.
“We’re currently buying woodland to provide raw materials, and we’ve got to the point where we’ve been able to take on the three apprentices from Askham Bryan College,” said Billy.
When he found himself out of work last August, he cast around for ideas and turned to Redcar and Cleveland Council’s Enterprise Team for help.
“They were fantastic,” he said. “I worked with the team to assess my idea and devise a strategy and put it into operation.
“I’m still in touch with them all the time – some of them have a lot of specialist knowledge, and they can help me come up with solutions I wouldn’t have thought of on my own.”
Billy and his team have been working part time to get the company established.
Environmentally friendly biomass burners use wood from sustainable sources. Billy is developing a burner with a heating element he hopes will be more efficient than anything currently on the market.
“We’ve got a long way to go with our prototype yet, but we have high hopes,” he said.
“Biomass makes up a very small part of the UK domestic market and we feel there’s plenty of opportunity there.”
The Enterprise project is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund - set up to bring over £300m into the North-east.