NW Evening Mail, 27 April 2010
BARROW-based development agency Furness Enterprise is hoping to sell the advantages of the area to businesses across the UK.
The agency is hoping the lure of existing available work units in the area and the newly developing Waterfront Business Park on Barrow Island, as well as potential grants on offer, will draw in new businesses.
More than 140 firms and organisations have inquired so far about the possibility of taking a plot on the new Waterfront Business Park being developed on redundant dock land.
The initiative includes the printing of 1,000 impressive ‘coffee table’ sized brochures crammed with attractive photographs of the area, complete with details about its facilities.
The publication is also available online on the agency’s website.
Titled Discover Barrow and Furness, a Great Place to Live and Work it will be issued at events and available through direct mail from agencies including Furness Enterprise, the Northwest Regional Development Agency which helped fund it, the export organisation UK Trade and Investment, and Barrow Regeneration. Photographs in the brochure include aerial shots taken from a glider by Peter Lewis and other shots by Phil Hatfield. The brochure was conceived and put together by Bluepole Design and printed by HSP Milner, and supported by organisations including Barrow Regeneration and ABP ports.
Stuart Klosinski, industrial development manager for Furness Enterprise, said: “It is to make Barrow and Furness more attractive to people as a go-ahead, hi-tech area where companies should relocate to.
“It compliments the various websites we have got because people often want to look at information as well.
“It’s a high quality brochure and it has been produced entirely locally.
“It is also promoting Barrow and Furness as the gateway of the Energy Coast.
“We picked an unusual coffee table size. It is modelled on something we had seen overseas, making it slightly bigger and making it more magazine-like to give people a taste of what the opportunities are.”
In part, the new programme is a response to surveys of local companies who said they wanted to see more done to promote what the area has to offer businesses.
In a linked initiative, Furness Enterprise, based at Waterside Business Park, is also now offering companies interested in the area the chance to open a “virtual office” in Barrow.
They can get started in the town without being physically based here by having Furness Enterprise answer calls in their name and accept mail and parcels.
Taking a virtual office also entitles firms to access any of Furness Enterprise’s services, which include a wide range of possible grants and information about sites, potential supply chain firms and other opportunities available in the area.
The initiative has only just started but Furness Enterprise is already running three virtual offices for firms from out of town who currently only have people in the area now and again.
Mr Klosinski said: “It has only just started and we have quickly got three virtual tenants.
“Virtual office services give a firm a soft landing into the county and into the Furness area at a low cost to get started up.”
The service is aimed at all sectors including the energy sector, with offshore wind farm and gas developments picking up again.
“We answer calls in the company’s names and provide secretarial support,”said Mr Klosinski.
“The virtual office is very popular in America and we have launched it here this year to try and make Barrow a more attractive place to be, and we are coming out with new material to press the message home and try an attract more companies to the area.”