Drive to attract SMEs on Novus' first birthday

A business facility created to meet the ambitions of new and growing SMEs is nearing 50% capacity as it celebrates its first birthday

From left, Alice Allum and Lisa Bean from Gradvert, Denise Fielding from East Durham Business Service, and Michaela Reaney, also from Gradvert
From left, Alice Allum and Lisa Bean from Gradvert, Denise Fielding from East Durham Business Service, and Michaela Reaney, also from Gradvert

A business facility created to meet the ambitions of new and growing SMEs is nearing 50% capacity as it celebrates its first birthday.

The Novus Centre in Seaham, County Durham, was opened last year as part of plans by support organisation East Durham Business Service to encourage a more entrepreneurial culture in the area.

The 15,500 sq ft facility, at Spectrum Business Park, is now home to 12 businesses including an accountancy firm, a training provider, a recruitment consultant and a renewable heating contractor, which between them employ 26 people.

Now East Durham Business Service is launching a fresh drive to occupy the remaining 17 offices and is inviting companies to visit the Novus Centre to see the accommodation available and learn more about the bespoke terms that can be agreed depending on individual needs.

Director of operations Denise Fielding said: “The Novus Centre is the perfect environment for businesses to realise their ambitions, whether they’re a new start looking for their first leased offices or a growing company keen to take additional space to help implement their expansion plans.

“What it can also offer is quality conference facilities and meeting rooms which are available on an as-and-when-needed basis so there’s something here to accommodate every requirement.

“Since opening in January last year, occupancy levels have steadily increased but of course, the aim is to have the Novus Centre fully occupied.

“So we’re keen to hear from businesses who are looking to move into rented space and those who, whilst maybe not thinking about it right now, are open to a move a bit further down the line.”

The Novus Centre was part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Durham County Council.

One of the businesses based there is Gradvert, a graduate recruitment and web design company which was launched in September 2012 by Lisa Bean and Michaela Reaney and now employs six people.

Bean said: “Since moving into the Novus Centre in March last year, our business has really grown and we will shortly be moving into larger office space to reflect that growth.”

Reaney added: “The location and facilities are perfect for our business and East Durham Business Service has been so supportive of us, which, as a growing SME, has been invaluable.”

East Durham Business Service has gone through a major restructure in the past 12 months and is now in the process of strengthening its core team of business advisors.

Seven people are employed at its head office on the North West Industrial Estate in Peterlee, a further two are based at the Novus Centre and there are plans to add to the service during 2014.

Fielding added: “We’re now in the process of strengthening our team to ensure we’re in the best possible position to support new and growing businesses.”

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