An award-winning new business specialising in the latest digital technology is among the businesses taking advantage of the state-of-the-art facilities at Tamworth’s new Enterprise Centre.
The former Philip Dix Centre in Corporation Street has been renamed Philip Dix House and transformed into a business hub complete with16 fully serviced offices to rent. The opening of Tamworth Enterprise Centre marks the completion of the first stage of the major £6.1million Enterprise Quarter project to regenerate Tamworth town centre. Nearly half the funding – £2.95million – has come from Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, via the Local Growth Fund.
Among the 15 businesses that have already moved into the new development is e-learning consultancy Enlighten, which specialises in augmented and virtual reality systems
The firm, which this year won the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce ‘Most Promising Start-up’ business award and was also runner-up in the digital category, was founded by former teacher Suzanne Edwards and her business partner Steve Wileman, formerly head of e-learning at South Staffordshire College. They have now been joined in the business by William Edwards who is working as content developer. Suzanne and William are pictured above.
Enlighten specialises in augmented and virtual reality learning material for the education sector and is also branching out into developing augmented reality for marketing and tourism.
Suzanne, a former secondary school teacher who also taught ICT in prisons, explained: “There is a shift taking place to delivering education courses online and the technology is developing fast. Augmented and virtual reality can deliver a really rich and varied learning experience and it is increasingly in demand in areas such as apprenticeships where the emphasis is on hands-on learning.”
The firm has recently started applying the technology to marketing and the tourism and leisure sector, for example developing an interactive map of Tamworth town centre for visitors.
“We were surprised and delighted to win the Staffordshire Chambers award as we have only been going for just over a year,” Suzanne added. “We were also approached by The Times newspaper to act as consultants on a special report on digital learning, so we are really making our mark.
“It is great to have Tamworth Enterprise Centre as our new base and to help bring business into the town centre.”
The new centre features co-working space in the executive business lounge, ‘touchdown’ areas, three professional meeting rooms, conference space, boardroom facilities and virtual offices. The building is equipped with technology including superfast broadband, Wi-Fi and interactive TVs.
Businesses can use the centre for a variety of purposes, whether they’re looking for a professional setting in which to meet a client, need room for a large training session or conference, or require an official registered address.
It is hoped the centre will encourage the creation and growth of small businesses in Tamworth by providing professional facilities with low set-up costs, along with on-site business advice and support from Tamworth Borough Council’s Economic Development and Regeneration team.
LEP chairman David Frost CBE said: “We are delighted that this impressive new Enterprise Centre is off to a flying start and has attracted such strong interest from businesses. This is great evidence of the ‘can-do’ entrepreneurial drive of local business people and our public sector partners who are working to transform Tamworth.
“The LEP is proud to be contributing a total of £2.95million to the creation of Tamworth’s Enterprise Quarter, nearly half the cost of this ambitious scheme. The Enterprise Quarter will revitalise the town centre and help to make a Tamworth a vibrant and go-ahead place to live, work and do business.”
Cllr Steve Claymore, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Regeneration, said: “Tamworth Enterprise Centre is already proving to be a great boost to the town’s small business community by providing affordable, yet professional, offices and meeting rooms to help them start and grow successful enterprises.
“We hope to see lots of sole traders and companies using the executive lounge, touchdown areas and meeting rooms, so that the centre becomes a real hive of activity. It also offers a great opportunity for people who may usually work from home to come and interact in a busy professional environment. We’ve already seen examples of collaborative working among the businesses at the centre and we hope to see more of that in the future.”