Case Study - Magnifica (est. 2013)
Website - www.magnifica.co.uk
Location - Tapton Park Innovation Centre, Chesterfield
Magnifica is 'a young company with big ideas on how to build industry leading software'.
Based in Chesterfield's Tapton Park Innovation Centre, Magnifica specialises in website development, Enterprise Applications and Bespoke software development. The company, which is owned and managed by Rob Gregory and Craig Pickles, delivers innovative solutions that make businesses more efficient through the innovative application of technology tailored to the needs of each company.
Rob Gregory explains how the Chesterfield Innovation Support Project has helped Magnifica make significant business contacts, which are helping grow the business locally and nationally and exceed its projected first year annual turner of Â£100k in just five months.
How did Magnifica begin?
Chesterfield has a rich engineering and manufacturing heritage and it was while Craig and I both worked for a large Digital Agency in Sheffield that we identified a gap in the market for bespoke software engineering in the manufacturing and engineering sector.
We're software engineers so there's a natural synergy and understanding between us and our engineering customer base. For what we do there's no direct competition in Chesterfield - we're the big fish in a small pond - and we have been able to work with a number of leading and nationally respected local manufacturing and engineering companies, enabling us to develop our messaging and offering for when we move to the next level - the national market.
It's important to work in the right environment when you are starting a business and Chesterfield has been perfect for us.
Why did you choose to locate the business in Tapton Park Innovation Centre?
There were a number of reasons we chose to base the business in Tapton Park Innovation Centre. Firstly, many of our initial customers were based in Chesterfield and it made sense to base ourselves near them. Secondly, the fact that the office is based close to Chesterfield train station was a big attraction for us. We knew we wanted to grow the company and increase our staff. The fact the office is easily accessible for potential employees living in Sheffield, Derby and Nottingham is a major plus point.
How has Chesterfield Innovation Support Project helped Magnifica?
I met Paul Stuart from the Chesterfield Innovation Support Project at a free business support event at Dunston Innovation Centre. I got talking to him and he explained what he did and explained that, through the Innovation Support Project, he had a number of contacts who may be useful in helping us grow the business.
Paul put us in touch the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS). MAS is solely focused on supporting the manufacturing industry, which fits with our business strategy. Paul also put us in touch with the local Manufacturing Trade Group, which is run by Shorts Accountants and BRM Solicitors. Through this, we were able to get involved with sector-specific networking in the local area, which could potentially enable us to reap awards across the UK.
Has your business strategy changed since your involvement with the Innovation Support Project?
Our projected growth is climbing a steeper curve since we got involved with the Innovation Support Project. The contacts we have made, through it, have enabled our annual projected turnover to exceed the 100k target in just a five month period. We have adjusted our target and already have a healthy pipeline of new business for early 2014.
Currently there are just the two of us but we are already looking to expand recently offering a graduate developer role to a student from Sheffield Hallam University who, we are sure, will be a great asset in developing the company.
Although moving at a much faster pace, our core values and strategy remain as it is this which will set us apart from the competition and ensure we have a long-term future.
Our strength comes from the fact we thrive as a team. When we do expand our workforce all our staff will have technological backgrounds and will be able to develop the products and understand the clientele from start to finish. It's a key focus for us that every member of our team is focused on being the best. This means as a business we can deliver the best solutions for our customers. It'll be a mind-set that the whole team will adopt.
With the technologies we're using and the software we're building, it's a very fast moving industry which is important that we remain at the forefront. With the contacts we have made, I am confident that Magnifica will reach the national and international stage a lot sooner than either my business partner or I ever imagined. It's a hugely exciting time for us and we have tremendous hope for the future of the company.