BUSINESS continues to boom at Tamworth Enterprise Centre as it marks one year since officially opening as a town centre hub for growth and entrepreneurship.
Housed in the former Philip Dix Centre in Corporation Street, the state-of-the-art business centre provides modern serviced offices to rent, well-appointed meeting rooms for hire, an executive business lounge, virtual offices with registered business address, conference facilities, broadband, Wi-Fi, interactive TVs and much more.
One year on from its official opening on July 22, 2017, and the Tamworth Borough Council facility continues to flourish, as do the businesses which use it. All 16 offices are fully let to 14 businesses and around 45 people work from the hub each day. The centre’s three professional and affordable meeting rooms can be booked by any businesses and are used regularly for meetings and training sessions.
Tamworth Enterprise Centre’s suite of serviced offices were snapped up immediately, having met an unexpected level of demand for professional yet affordable premises located in the heart of Tamworth town centre.
Businesses within the building have gone from strength to strength and are able to take advantage of a range of support services and training sessions available. They have also established a valuable business community which sees them working together to share services and advice.
Dave Harper of Silverpoint Inventories was the centre’s very first tenant, having signed up while it was still a building site. He had previously run his business from home, providing inventories for the lettings industry.
“I knew Tamworth Enterprise Centre fit the bill as soon as I saw it,” he said. “This was a desperately needed facility in the town. I wanted something that was affordable but in a good location. It’s been really beneficial for my business.
“I’ve attracted lots of new customers since making the move from the home office. There’s also the added benefit of having other people around to chat to and interact with.”
Dave also hosts a weekly two-hour business slot on Radio Tamworth, which invites local businesses to promote the work they do.
Nikki Woodhead of Elite Group was selling business supplies when she first moved to the centre in July last year and is now branching out into marketing support as well.
“I absolutely love it here. It’s a nice building in a lovely environment,” Nikki said. “Other businesses here are very helpful and a few of them have become clients.”
Suzanne Edwards, chief executive officer at the award-winning augmented and virtual reality business, Enlighten, was also among the first to snap up a space. “It’s been a great move for us,” she said. “Tamworth is our home town so we love being in the heart of that. It’s also really handy for the station as we regularly travel into London. There’s a real community feel here, the centre manager, Mike Osborne, and the council couldn’t be more supportive to our business. We work regularly with the MoD, so to be in the former TA drill hall is also quite fitting – they like that element.”
Expert Trades provides business support services to 17,000 trades professionals across the UK and moved to the TEC from the Custard Factory in Birmingham. The business needed a more suitable location with an easier commute for its nine members of staff.
The TEC is also home to ADSA – the Automatic Door Suppliers’ Association – which promotes safety and best practice in the automatic door industry, writing standards and providing training across the UK and Switzerland.
ADSA business manager, Rachel Rabicano, said: “The key thing for us is being able to use the meeting rooms as we hire them for our training and they are really cost effective. We have people from all over the UK and Ireland regularly attending training courses and they often stay over, using local accommodation providers. Our members have also used the meeting rooms for sales meetings, which is something we can promote as part of their membership.”
The centre also enabled Adam Fenlon and Neil Smith of Nedlon Civils Ltd to make the move from the home office. The company, which carries out groundwork on construction sites, struggled to find suitable premises before the TEC was set up.
As Adam is a wheelchair user, accessibility was also a factor. “I had been looking for months,” he said. “Everything else was either too expensive or not accessible. I had previously been out of work for eight years after ending up in a wheelchair and this was my first venture back into work. It’s not been easy but I have had a lot of support on the business side through the centre and that has really helped.”
Although all the office space is fully let, there are still registered business addresses available and the suite of meeting rooms, with interactive screens and Wi-Fi, can easily be booked by businesses looking for a town centre venue at www.tamworthenterprisecentre.co.uk/meeting-rooms.
The centre also hosts regular events, workshops, training days and networking sessions, which are open to all businesses. For more information, please visit www.tamworthenterprisecentre.co.uk/info-and-events.
The creation of Tamworth Enterprise Centre was the first completed phase of a £6.1million scheme to develop an Enterprise Quarter in the Corporation Street area, which will include the refurbishment and extension of Tamworth Assembly Rooms, the redevelopment of the Carnegie Centre as a restaurant, improvements to the library and surrounding area and the creation of a new public open space.
The Enterprise Quarter is a joint project between Tamworth Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council, which has received additional funding, including £2.95million from the Local Growth Fund, through Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Cllr Steve Claymore, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Heritage and Growth, said: “We had a pretty good idea that such a facility would be welcomed in Tamworth, but we underestimated just how great the demand was. The centre has been incredibly successful in supporting the creation and growth of small businesses.
“The TEC has enabled some businesses to take the important step of acquiring premises for the first time, while others have been able to grow and take on more staff since moving to the centre. It’s great to hear they are also taking advantage of the range of business support services on offer and working with each other.
“As well as creating a strong community of businesses working together, the centre is also helping to boost the town centre economy overall, with the tenants, their customers and visitors using town centre facilities such as restaurants, shops and hotels. It’s also led to the creation of other similar serviced office space by private landlords in the town, to hopefully create a thriving local economy of flourishing small businesses.
“The hope is that the centre will continue to go from strength to strength. There is much on offer, whether it’s a venue for regular training sessions or occasional team meetings, a professional business setting in which to meet a client, or a registered business address – it’s there for all to use at affordable rates.”