Budding entrepreneurs offered chance to grow at KUSBP
Being accepted on to 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."
Three ambitious start ups have been selected to join a two-year business growth programme at Keele University Science and Business Park (KUSBP) giving them access to new office space and tailored advice on sales, marketing, HR, performance and strategy. The successful companies will move into the new Nova Centre, located near to the entrance of KUSBP, in April 2012.
The businesses were chosen following interviews and reviews of their business plans, which were carried out by a steering group comprising David Webster, CEO 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.
Established in February 2012, Inspiring Imagery is one of the young companies to successfully gain a place on the programme. Graham Fisher and Liam Neal have embarked on their new business venture while still studying for their degrees at Keele University. After carrying out market research into photo studios and printing companies, the entrepreneurial pair spotted an opportunity to provide affordable printing services. They started trading online from a small room on campus and have already built up a strong client base.
Graham said: “Our aim is to develop our commercial offering, providing a cost-effective printing service to companies that don’t have the resources in house and in the future, expand into design services too. 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 ensuring we can develop our services and build a successful business.”
Inspiring Imagery will be joined by CIF Management Consultants which was set up in July 2011 by Colin Copeland and Graham Kennett. The company was formed when the pair completed a management buyout to capitalise on their strong manufacturing and the consulting expertise. CIF Management Consultants has seen strong sales within its first nine months of trading and has worked with businesses of all sizes including multinational organisations and SMEs, helping them to improve efficiencies and productivity.
Speaking about the company’s plans, Colin commented: “We’re on target to reach our year-end figures but want to achieve between 10-20 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. We are also looking forward to relocating to KUSBP as it’s a prestigious address and will provide valuable opportunities to network, share knowledge and potentially collaborate with the University.”
The third company to move into the Nova Centre is Digital Delight which provides affordable and high-quality digital services to local businesses. Set up by Mandy Robinson and Alan Pierce when they were made redundant, the business is currently run from their home in Newcastle under Lyme. It hopes to expand its team by working closely with local colleges and universities using their internship and apprenticeship schemes.
Mandy 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 aim to be at the forefront and 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 very much looking forward to supporting them over the next two years and helping them to achieve their ambitious objectives and build their teams.”
The Nova Centre will be the companies’ base for two years during which time they will be given access to mentors, financial support, sales and marketing advice, business networking opportunities and membership to the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce.
There are now four places remaining in the Nova Centre. Companies interested in gaining a place onto the business growth programme must be able to demonstrate a desire to expand and create jobs. For further information, contact Lucy Delaney at KUSBP on 01782 734603.
Notes to editor:
About Keele University Science and Business Park (KUSBP)
Established in 1987, KUSBP is one of the country’s leading centres for business development. It provides flexible office space, bespoke laboratories and design-and build-opportunities for companies across sectors including medical, technology, healthcare and engineering.
As well as providing workspace, KUSBP offers its tenants a wide range of support services, including facilities management and strategic business advice on topics such as funding, bid-writing, human resources and public relations.
With 38 acres of development land available, KUSBP has significant potential for growth and has plans for a new hotel and further innovation centres in the pipeline. Its vision is to support innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship by providing ‘lifetime’ support to new and growing businesses.