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Space to grow is key to success for BIC firms.

THE North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) is capable of providing a home to more than 160 businesses and has provided custom-crafted accommodation for companies since 1994.

As businesses flourish, accommodation needs inevitably expand. For this reason the BIC was created to provide a base for growth at every stage of a company's life. Thousands of enterprises have begun on site, with entrepreneurs choosing from a range of start-up accommodation packages - from incubation offices and hybrid accommodation to virtual facilities - before moving into the BIC's larger offices, which include facilities for an unprecedented range of sectors, including high-end technology, large-scale industrial and bioscience labs.

BIC director of operations David Howell says: "Unlike other business parks, which may have been developed specifically to service one sector, the unique evolution of the BIC means that we can accommodate a huge variety of businesses and reinforce their offerings via the range of support and technical services that are available to our tenants."

In the past year, several companies at the BIC have achieved notable business success. Last December, product development company FS Design proved that it was in sound shape by designing and integrating a new iPod system into 35% of all Nissan Micras produced at Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK (NMUK).

Director at FS Design, Shaun Macintosh, says: "Nissan approached us to manage the project because of our well-established expertise in bespoke turnkey solutions. We negotiated with Apple to secure iPods with distinctive Micra branding and content. In parallel we designed and developed the docks to integrate seamlessly into the current Micra."

As well as creating the docking stations for the vehicle, FS Design has been responsible for purchasing iPod nanos on behalf of Nissan, negotiating logo etching with Apple and distributing the items direct to Micra buyers in 27 countries within one week of a car's delivery.

Shaun said: "Basing our company at the BIC has been beneficial for many other reasons as well as the great office provision and accessible location. The ongoing availability of business support and advice is extremely useful, and I'm not sure we'd get this anywhere else."

BIC-based Bond Solutions specialises in technology based CRM and finance, solutions and support services for SMEs, helping them to manage contacts, forecast sales and manage financial information as well as extracting real-time management and reporting information through easy-to-use programs that bolt on to established technology.

The company is ranked second in the UK in the Circle of Excellence - an award established by Sage four years ago to recognise business partners that provide outstanding customer service.

Since moving to the BIC in 2004, Bond Solutions has doubled its office space, which has allowed managing director Derek Curtis to manage the company's physical growth alongside rapid business expansion.

Contrary to recent trends of staff cuts and increasing unemployment in the region, Bond has welcomed three new staff in the past year, including Jerri Murtagh, 22, who is now responsible for helping to devise and implement the company's marketing and communications strategy and managing customer relations. She has also developed a corporate blog for the organisation, which can be found at Derek Curtis said: "The BIC has proved to be an ideal base for expansion over the past six years as we have grown Bond through several workspaces there. The central location means access is easy for our staff and clients, who come from across the region, and seemingly small issues like car parking, which can be problematic at other workspaces, are all astonishingly well managed at the BIC."

Visit for more information on accommodation at the North East BIC.


ROLE Jenni Murtagh works on marketing and customer relations for Bond Solutions. TEAM From left, Shaun Macintosh and Clare Head, directors at FS Design, with Keith Chambers, manager, production control, Nissan Sunderland. ATTENTION TO DETAIL David Howell, director of operations at the North East BIC.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 12, 2009
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