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Incubators prove a successful launchpad for city businesses

Incubators prove a successful launchpad for city businesses

A new report analysing the impact of three Sunderland City Council owned business incubators has revealed how tenants continued to grow and invest in the city over the last year.

A council report - which will be shared with the city's elected members this month - revealed that 13 businesses at the three hubs continued to expand last year and that - despite all three centres being severely impacted operationally by the pandemic - 36 jobs were created during the year ended 31 October.

Comprising Evolve at Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland Software Centre at Tavistock Place and Washington Business Centre on Turbine Way, the centres were established to increase Sunderland's competitiveness in attracting high-quality jobs and businesses to the city and supporting their ongoing development, creating jobs and opportunities for local people and supply chain businesses.

One such business is Clixifix®.  The Evolve-based company is a cost-effective defect and repair resolution software application which opened its Houghton office in 2018 and has since grown from two to 22 employees.

The firm's pioneering technology platform is currently used by housebuilders, landlords and property managers across residential, commercial, and social sectors throughout the UK and abroad, to identify defects during and post construction.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "While the pandemic has been challenging in so many ways, it's pleasing to see that businesses at each of our three managed business centres have continued to create jobs over the past year."

As well as providing workspace for growing and established businesses, the business hubs act as springboards to help businesses realise their growth potential and drive real, tangible results for the regional economy.

Cllr Miller added: "Coatsink, a games development company, relocated to Sunderland Software Centre from its base on Teesside with just a handful of employees in 2013. Fast-forward seven years and the company which has retained a foothold in the Software Centre was acquired for a whopping £65million by a Swedish gaming giant last October, having created scores of high skilled jobs and flying the flag for the region's tech sector. 

"Powerroll has been another fantastic success story. The manufacturer has raised over £8million for the development out of its innovative solar panel film since setting up at Washington Business Centre and is now constructing its own pilot solar film production plant, just down the road in Its founder's hometown of Seaham.

"However, no sooner had Powerroll spread its wings and announced its intention to leave the Washington hub than another innovative manufacturer was eagerly waiting to roll into its place in the hope of replicating its fantastic success. 

"While the nature of incubator hubs mean that businesses grow and move on - often to large standalone spaces across the city or wider region - we are delighted that our centres continue to create jobs for local people and will continue to monitor economic trends and do all we can to ensure Sunderland continues to be a destination of choice for forward-thinking entrepreneurs looking to start up and grow successful businesses."

For more information on Sunderland as a place to do business, visit: https://www.mysunderland.co.uk/business-and-investment or follow @InvestSundUK.

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