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“Now is our time”: Building the businesses of tomorrow

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Published on 20 September 2018

Software developers Sicarius
Software developers Sicarius

Hundreds of young entrepreneurs have been inspired and energised into changing their lives thanks to the University of Sunderland’s Enterprise Place.

Now the business leaders-of-the-future have had the chance to share their ideas as part of a major showcase event,    

Between October 2015 and September 2018, The Enterprise Place has officially accepted 138 business ideas, and gone on to register 81 of those as companies. Many have now moved on, making their own way among the region’s business community.

The project, which has been housed in the University’s Hope Street Xchange building since January 2017, has also supported hundreds of students, offering lectures, taster sessions, and inspiring workshops that help entrepreneurs build their business’ dreams.

The Enterprise Place offers 12 months of support to fledgling businesses, as well as a working space, business advisors, networking opportunities and grow your business programmes.

One fledgling company attending this week’s showcase is software development business Sicarius. The business – made up of four graduates - spent 12 months on placement with the Enterprise Place.

Comprising of Ellis Collinson, 22, Matthew Longstaff, 22, Kieran Flitton, 27, and Ryan Smith, 30, the four lads met while studying Computing and Computing Science at the University.

During their second year, the four decided they worked so well together they wanted to launch their own business and Sicarius was born.

Ellis said: “We were at a hackathon at the Sage in Gateshead when we came up with the idea of all of us working together. But we were in the middle of our degrees and decided to put things on hold until after graduation.”

All four graduated this summer with first class degrees and are now gearing up to get their company on the road to success.

Matthew said: “The Enterprise Place has been fantastic in supporting us, they’ve helped us with the basics when it comes to starting a business, from learning about accounts and tax issues, to building our contacts.

“We want to start spending time now building the business so that we can stand tall with other similar companies in the North East.”

Sicarius aims to offer website and app development, as well as bespoke software services to businesses and prides itself on its friendly approach to customers.

Ellis added: “We believe the North East is the new powerhouse for this type of business. Now is our time and this region is the perfect place for us to grow and develop the company.”

Other Enterprise Place success stories include Fern Snailham, 24, who has grown her business UNEEK Staffing significantly in just a year. She now supplies a pool of more than 500 promotional and events staff in a variety of contracts to a range of clients across the UK.

Fern, from Stanley, County Durham, has also opened up a hospitality division set to increase to over 1,000 staff. The young entrepreneur came up with the idea UNEEK Staffing after she spent a year freelancing across the UK promoting new products and raising brand awareness in everything from supermarket products to cars.

The work offered her the freedom and flexibility of being her own boss but she decided she needed the business qualifications to support those ambitions. Fast forward three years later and within days of graduating with a first-class Business Management degree at the University Sunderland, Fern began setting up UNEEK Staffing in 2017, after securing membership with the Enterprise Place.

To find out more about the Enterprise Place visit here.