First tenants move into business base
THREE ambitious new start-ups have been chosen to move into an enterprise centre aimed exclusively at fledgling businesses.
The Nova Centre, based in a former farmhouse at Keele University Science and Business Park (KUSBP), will welcome its first three tenants this month.
As well as cheap office space, tenants at the Nova Centre benefit from a two-year business growth programme which includes advice on sales, marketing, human resources and strategy.
Sentinel Business reported last July that KUSBP was creating the Nova Centre for companies which have been trading for one year or less.
Its first three tenants – Inspiring Imagery, CIF Management Consultants and Digital Delight – were chosen by a steering group comprising David Webster, chief executive of the Hanley Economic Building Society, Professor Mark Ormerod, pro vice chancellor for research and enterprise at Keele University, and Lucy Delaney, business development manager at KUSBP.
They will be asked to move on after two years to give more new companies a chance to benefit.
Printing firm Inspiring Imagery was established in February by Keele University students Graham Fisher and Liam Neal. They started trading online from a small room on campus, and say they have already built up a strong client base.
Graham said: "The idea for the business has been in the pipeline since December last year and we've worked really hard to get it off the ground. The business growth programme will give us a significant step up by providing us with an affordable office and support on tap, meaning we can develop our services and build a successful business."
CIF Management Consultants was set up in July 2011 by business engineers Colin Copeland and Graham Kennett, as a spinout from the Ceramic Industry Forum in Stoke.
The forum has helped ceramics manufacturers save almost £10 million over the past five years, and Colin and Graham set up CIF to extend their expertise to other manufacturing sectors across the UK.
Colin said: "We're on target to reach our year-end figures, but want to achieve between 10 and 20 per cent growth annually. The growth programme's support package will be particularly beneficial as it will enhance our sales and marketing efforts and strengthen the brand, so that we can develop our national offering.
"KUSBP is a prestigious address and will provide valuable opportunities to network, share knowledge and potentially collaborate with the university."
Digital Delight was set up by Mandy Robinson and Alan Pierce when they were made redundant, and had previously been based at their home in Newcastle.
Mandy, pictured below, said: "We would like to specialise in digital services for mobile and bespoke web systems. Huge growth is predicted in mobile browsing trends in the next few years and we want to start working with larger companies both locally and nationally.
"Being accepted onto the Nova Centre programme means that we can accelerate our growth plans. We're quite new to business and having advice and support will enable us to be more focused on growing our company and expanding our team.
"Keele is a fantastic location and we're looking forward to getting to know the tenants in our building, as well as the other innovation centres."
Caroline Mairs, head of KUSBP, added: "We launched this initiative in July last year and have been overwhelmed by the response. Despite the challenging economic climate, these new tenants prove that there are still opportunities out there for businesses to thrive.
"They have demonstrated passion, enthusiasm and entrepreneurial flair, which has enabled them to build a strong foundation for business growth.
"We are looking forward to supporting them over the next two years and helping them to achieve their ambitious objectives and build their teams."
There are now four places remaining at the Nova Centre. Potential tenants must be able to demonstrate a desire to expand and create jobs. For more information, contact Lucy Delaney on 01782 734603.
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