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Century Business Centre: 10 years creating business success in Rotherham

Century Business Centre at Manvers has recently celebrated 10 years of helping local new start businesses to thrive and grow. The Centre, designed for small and new start business, offers a range of office and workshop units, and Centre staff marked the occasion with some of their current tenant companies.

Since 2000 the Centre has been home to over 200 businesses, creating more than 600 jobs, and many of its former tenants have gone on to become larger, established businesses, operating in global markets. One of these Martek Marine have grown from one workshop unit to a world leader in the manufacture of safety and environmental emissions monitoring systems for the global marine industry, turning over in excess of £7 million per year.

Other alumni of Century Business Centre include; Wren Turbines, who manufacture miniature operational jet engines; CoMap Systems Ltd, which produce control systems for electricity generating equipment; Prototype Creative Ltd, a  graphic and website design company; and Industrial Software Limited.

The Centre, owned and managed by Rotherham Investment & Development Office (RiDO), the regeneration arm of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council was originally developed to help local people in the Manvers area of the Dearne Valley to set up their own businesses following the decline of traditional industries.

Amanda Parris, RiDO’s Business Centre Manager said;

“This is an important milestone, not just for Century but for the fact that it started the whole culture of business incubation in Rotherham. It has been really great working with all of the businesses that have being based here over the years, and to see many of them grow and expand.

“It has also being interesting to see the developments around the Manvers area in the last ten years. Back in 2000 Century stood on its own, but now with more commercial and residential developments, the area is a great place to live and work.”  

Steve Coulson, Director at Martek Marine commented;

“Choosing Century Business Centre was a great decision in our growth story. The set-up at the Centre gave us the flexibility to develop our business in a rapid, organic way, allowing our business to incubate then accommodating our growth spurts, and eventually allowing us to fend for ourselves without bureaucracy or fuss.

“The business centre itself is only one story; the staff are the true stars. Led by Amanda Parris they always gave us the very best service, and after leaving Century to move into a self contained unit we have continued to progress, even in the harshest trading conditions in living memory.”

Throughout the ten years of its operation, Century has always been popular and at most times over 90% of units have been occupied. Its current tenants include a number of growing and innovative businesses, and one of these Spangles UK Ltd, a fashion jewellery company, recently finished joint runner-up in the HSBC Bank ‘Start-up Stars’ national business competition final, having previously being the competition’s North East regional winner.

The success at Century led the Council to expand the provision for small business incubator premises, and RiDO now has four centres, located across the Borough at Moorgate Crofts, Templeborough and Dinnington providing over 200 office and workshop units.  

Councillor Gerald Smith, Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development Services, said;

“I want to congratulate all the past and present companies and RiDO staff that have been part of the achievements at Century Business Centre in the past ten years. It has shown there is a real desire within Rotherham for high quality space for business start-ups, and that with the right supportive environment new businesses can really succeed. Century has become a blueprint for the expansion of incubation and enterprise support services in the Borough, and has played a key role in helping develop Rotherham’s enterprise culture.

“Testament to this fact is recent Royal Mail research which shows the borough as having the second highest number of start-up businesses in the country this year and our recent success in winning the national competition for ‘The Most Enterprising Place in Britain for 2010’, awarded by Enterprise UK.

"The acknowledgement from this organisation, founded by the British Chambers of Commerce, the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Directors to encourage enterprise is a powerful endorsement of our enterprise activities in Rotherham.”

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