Getting installed in the Media Centre back in 1999 was the best move David Andrassy could have made. He arrived as a sole trader: since then his consultancy, Andrassy Design, has grown to a creative team of eight and has had to move several times within the Media Centre into ever-larger offices to accommodate his increasingly successful business.
Andrassy Design works exclusively with the non-profit sector. Managing director David readily identifies the benefits of his Media Centre location. "Clients take you more seriously when they see the level of professional services provided, including on-site access to IT," he says.
The company's strength lies in building strong relationships with clients, addressing the particular issues which confront them. Their needs are specific as well as diverse: they are based at local, regional and national level and are involved with health and social care, cultural diversity, higher education, affordable housing, the arts, regeneration and community cohesion.
The range of services and the creative ethos on site at the Media Centre has allowed Andrassy Design not only to meet those various needs but also to develop the consultancy itself.
"The experience gained through intercultural communication has provided a greater understanding of how to reach out to the diverse often marginalised communities that our clients serve," says David.
"Being based at the Media Centre has also raised my own expectations of what Andrassy Design is capable of delivering."
Andrassy Design moved out of The Media Centre in 2007 into a building they had bought.
Games are fun but they’re also big business: Creative North, which specialises in developing games for mobile phones, is based in Huddersfield but is targetting an ever-expanding global market.
The company was set up in 2004 by Huddersfield University graduate Phil Mundy with the help and support of Huddersfield Business Generator. He set up shop in the Creative Lofts and has never looked back: in just three years, turnover has grown from £0 to £450K while the staff of two is now a team of 12.
Phil Mundy certainly believes he’s in the right place. “The Creative Lofts is a really complete facility and provides a dynamic media cluster so we don’t have to look far for creative practitioners,” he says
The expertise on hand at the Media Centre is an added bonus: “All of our design and printing is done through contacts made at the Media Centre.”
Phil Mundy hasn’t forgotten what it was like to be an enthusiastic student: Creative North combines commercial game-development with his Creative North Academy, a learning and skills-based environment which offers work-placements to young people who are passionate about games. The company works closely with Huddersfield University, giving the best of the undergraduates on its games-development courses a head-start in the industry, putting them together with more experienced programmers and artists to work on real commercial projects.
Like he says, Phil Mundy certainly believes he’s in the right place.
It started back in 2000 with one over-riding objective – to support and encourage businesses in Huddersfield and to attract new ones to join those already there. Now Huddersfield Town Centre Partnership Ltd has 170 companies signed up as members, so the formula must be working.
HTCPL works to maximise the investment performance of businesses in the town centre by giving them a framework within which they can grow, thus helping to retain wealth and asset in the town.
That framework includes improving access; increasing footfall; upgrading the environment and reducing crime. All these initiatives relate back to the primary goal.
Working on behalf of HTCPL to achieve all this is the Town Centre Management team, which moved in to Huddersfield’s Media Centre in 2006.
“Our primary audience is all the businesses within the town centre and all those who use it,” says Julia Lilof, assistant Town Centre Manager. “The Media Centre is such a well known place to meet, it’s a central address and easy for people to get to. We’re placed in a vibrant location in the town centre.”
The Huddersfield Town Centre Partnership Ltd is working towards increasing membership and liaising closely with partners to create a living and vibrant town centre for all to prosper in and enjoy. The Media Centre offers the perfect base.
“It is a safe environment and a great place to work from,” says Julia. “Access to the meeting rooms is very handy and they are clean, well maintained and free of charge to tenants.”
One of the first occupants of the Huddersfield Media Centre when it opened in 1995 was Dayn Wilkins, managing director of Interactive Solutions. He was a sole trader then. Now his business employs a creative team of eight while his company’s annual turnover is a healthy £500K.
The place has obviously proved the perfect solution for all the company’s needs. “Being based in the Media Centre has exposed us to new clients as well as giving us easy access to complimentary services,” says Dayn. “It also provides an ideal opportunity to network, as well as being centrally located. And you can use the café for informal meetings.”
Fortunately the Media Centre is very accommodating for growing concerns. “We have stayed here because, as our company has grown, we have been able to move from one office into another to accommodate our expansion,” says Dayn Wilkins.
Interactive Solutions provides web design and development and digital media services to a wide client base across the UK, mainly from the education, public and corporate sectors. Key services include web design and development; internet application and database design; search engine optimism and marketing; CD-Rom, DVD-Video and DVD-Rom design; digital photography, filming and editing; print design.
Two of Interactive Solutions’s major clients are Yorkshire Forward, worth £450K over three years, and Huddersfield Textile Centre for Excellence, with a learning project worth £150K.
Along with the business rewards has come other recognition for the team, whose work earned the title Best Information Web-Site, Yorkshire Internet Awards 2005.
Andy Green must be one of the best-connected people in The Media Centre. His video production company Leagus consistently works with several companies based here, all of whom share his approach of working together with like-minded creatives who complement each others' skills. He's always on the look out for new opportunities to partner with other agencies.
Andy's relationship with The Media Centre started with one of our very first clients, Northern Creative Alliance, where he worked as a magazine editor. When he set up Leagus in 1999 he chose to base himself in our newly opened Lord Street building. Apart from a brief spell away he's been here ever since, sharing spaces with five other Media Centre clients, creating connections to respond to the demand for a professional quality service.
He says, "Being at The Media Centre gives me flexibility in being able to upsize or downsize according to my business needs." In the same vein, he works with several associates so he can shrink or grow his team to meet the demands of individual projects, without having to take on the risk and overheads of employing people full-time. This flexibility means he can work with a highly skilled and often diverse team – from a copywriter in Los Angeles, an illustrator in Argentina, servicing a client that is also based overseas.
Andy approaches his clients from a ‘return on their investment' point of view: how will a video be used as an effective tool and how will it make them money? Leagus have many success stories; for instance, they have recently worked with Huddersfield-based camper van importers Wellhouse Leisure - the company owner invested £8,000 in a promotional video, and saw a £1.4m return on his investment in just 11 months; the client credits the video and the way that it informs about his business to this fantastic result. In addition Wellhouse have increased their staff from 13 to 30 to cope with the influx of work – which is great news for both the company and the local economy.
This is just one example in an impressive rollcall of clients both large and small – from a ‘lightbulb moment' in 2005 that saw Leagus adjusting their business model to answer the increasing demand for digital video, making 38 videos for Asda in that first year, going on to work with the likes of Marks & Spencer, O2, and most recently the University of Huddersfield to name a few.
Leagus have trusted long-term partnerships with a growing list of creative agencies who regard Leagus as their in-house video team. For more information visit www.leagus.co.uk or call Andy on 0845 430 3133
Music & The Deaf was set up by artistic director Paul Whitaker in 1988 in his parents’ attic but his enterprise soon outgrew such limited space.
When he looked around for suitable premises, he opted for Huddersfield’s Media Centre. He liked the central location and good transport links, while the creative environment was perfect for his work: his clients are all keen to explore the arts.
Paul’s company was established with the aim of giving people suffering hearing loss the opportunity to get involved in music and the arts through workshops, educational projects, talks and signed theatre performances.
It’s a much appreciated service: turnover at Music & The Deaf has increased from £40K to £250K in the last five years while his start-up staff of two has trebled.
“Over the years we have liaised and worked with different companies in the Media Centre,” says Paul. “Networking has been further strengthened through the Breakfast Club Network events. Before that started, you were aware of who else was in the building but the network events have helped build stronger relationships with other creative people based here. It’s been incredibly valuable.”
Paul is also full of praise for the town itself. “Huddersfield has huge potential as a place for creative industry. I think being based here is pretty reasonable in price when you compare the services provided and the attractive facilities, as well as being located in the town centre.”
Accessibility is crucial for Music & The Deaf and Paul’s particular clients. That old attic space just wasn’t quite right.
One of the longest-standing tenants in the Media Centre has been so successful since moving in over eight years ago that the company, QT Creative, is now planning to move out.
“The Media Centre has been able to support our growing company for many years and has enabled QT to get to the point where we are now looking for our own premises for further growth,” says managing director Clare Quartermaine.
QT Creative is a marketing and design agency which focuses on anything and everything to do with communicating a company brand, product or service, be it through print and website design/development to advertising and press relations.
The company’s key developments include cutting-edge technology in the speedwayworld.tv website. “We receive a live feed of results into the system from Sky, so that fans all over the world can see live results where TV coverage in unavailable,” says Clare.
QT Creative is now firmly established, with a loyal client-base which is expanding on a daily basis. The company contiues to grow and take on new members of staff, hence the plans to take on their own premises.
“The reason we’ve stayed in the Media Centre for so long is because it is central, looks impressive to clients and has a friendly atmosphere,” says Clare. “The location is easy for clients to get to from the M62 corridor and, on site, the cafe is excellent and looks very impressive.”
QT Creative won’t be disappearing off the Media Centre radar, says Clare, who has forged some excellent contacts there: “Everyone knows everyone in this town.”
Susan Kenyon Marketing Consultants Ltd was established 10 years ago but only moved into the Media Centre in December 2006.
According to director Susan Kenyon herself, the move is already paying off. “The Media Centre has given us access to a larger business community and support network,” she says. “The town centre location works for us in that everything is close to hand.”
Just months after moving in, susankenyon Marketing Consultants Ltd won three major contracts, two of which are for London clients.
The agency specialises in strategy (planning) and research. A successful initiative has been the introduction of Marketing Clinics, which give clients access to professional ‘bitesized’ marketing in a two-hour time slot.
The company’s target audience is UK private and public sector organisations and companies, especially in food and drink; health and well being; training and public sector consultations.
Susan is aiming to develop the company into the Market Research Agency in West Yorkshire.
The director of London’s biggest diners club says that being based in Huddersfield’s Media Centre has provided the springboard for the company’s rapid success.
tastelondon started just 18 months ago and set up office in The Media Centre in September last year. In June this year tastelondon moved into he new Friendly St building.
Says director Matt Turner: “The Media Centre has provided tastelondon with the technical support and network needed for a new media business.
“Through the variety of office space available, tastelondon has been able to grow and naturally progress to larger office space when needed. Indeed, we are now in our third office since moving into The Media Centre.”
tastelondon is the largest club of its kind in the city and has secured contracts with key media partners there such as Time Out magazine and Metro newspaper, as well as supplying memberships as a core benefit to numerous companies based in the capital.
There are currently 500 tastelondon restaurants and more than 25,000 members.
tastelondon is now looking to expand nationwide and expects to have doubled its restaurant and customer base in 2008.
Nicci Topping, who runs her own casting agency, Topps Casting, is one of the Media Centre’s virtual tenants but there is nothing virtual about the benefits she enjoys at arms-length.
“It’s really good to be able to use the address and the café bar for meetings,” says Nicci, who was formerly based in the Media Centre – “it was a nice place to work in” - before taking her business home.
Nicci worked as a casting assistant, then set up her own agency before becoming a casting director some five years ago. Topps Casting now sorts out the right people for television commercials and has worked with leading brands such as Vodafone, AA and Kelloggs. Nicci counts some of the leading UK production companies among her clients.
She is currently working towards relocating her business to Spain.