As new companies move in to Round Foundry Media Centre, domino effect drives forward the creative corner of Leeds

Five new companies have taken space at the Round Foundry Media Centre, located at Holbeck Urban Village in Leeds, and enquiries for offices at the digital hub have doubled in the last three months resulting in a waiting list for spaces, as the clustering of creative companies is proving a recipe for success in the wake of the recession.   The Media Centre, which is already home to more than 100 creative and digital companies, has built a reputation as an engine room for innovative, fast-growth creative businesses. Paul Taylor, director of Creative Space Management which acts as both managing and lettings agent on behalf of landlord, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), has identified a number of factors that have contributed to the significant increase in SMEs and start-ups looking for office space.

Comments Paul Taylor: “The upsurge is partly due to a number of senior staff, formerly employed by larger companies, feeling confident about the opportunities within the market and, as we come out of the downturn, setting-up their own enterprises or new business units. The Media Centre is a magnet for high growth companies as the product is designed precisely for this market with its mix of serviced spaces, high-speed internet and flexible letting agreements, creating the perfect conditions for SMEs which are key to boosting the economy in the region.”

An example of this is The Shopper Agency, a specialist retail marketing company and part of the global network ‘The Valley Group’ which has moved its team into a office in the Media Centre. The company is headed up by Martin Fawcett, who was made redundant from his previous role as creative lead at a consumer brand agency, and went on to launch The Shopper Agency in August 2012, becoming a key player in the Group’s portfolio of specialist in-store marketing businesses.

Continues Paul Taylor: “New companies moving in create a domino effect and we have seen more than 200 jobs created in the HUV area in the last year alone, resulting in a waiting list for spaces at the Media Centre and our neighbouring development, Tower Works, which has triggered interest in developing the site further to keep up with demand.”

Also attracted to the Media Centre by the flexibility of the office spaces which can easily be expanded to accommodate their growth, is Complete Resourcing – an executive search agency and consultancy for SMEs – which has moved its 9 staff from Wakefield, with plans to employ a further 4 staff in the next six months. 25 years’ established in Newcastle, FPP Ltd, a global shopper marketing agency which also has offices in London and Geneva, has opened its first Leeds office at the Media Centre.

The stream of new companies have had a positive effect on current tenants who benefit from a growing client-base on their doorstep. Russell Smith Accountants, which has been based at the Centre since 2007, has almost doubled its office space in the last quarter, as a result of a rising number of neighbouring companies requiring its services.

Concludes Paul Taylor: “Part of the success of this area comes from the clustering of businesses from similar sectors. Working alongside other digital companies, even as direct competitors, both inspires and ignites further ambition in many of the people who work here. Sixty per cent of companies in the area also collaborate with each other, sharing knowledge and ideas to create further business opportunities. 2014 will see this southern side of the city centre further transformed by the new southern entrance to the train station when it opens next year, building on more than a decade of regeneration and we’re delighted to play a key role in driving this forward.”

Additional new tenants at the Media Centre include the Hunter Wolff Partnership, a new talent management and development agency and Showtime Online, a team of five digitally savvy professionals, headed up by Leeds digital entrepreneur Lee Fella, which offers clients a range of digital marketing services including the design of apps software systems and websites.

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