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Strong results for sports clothing firm following Rotherham relocation

posted 11 Dec 2018, 07:17 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 11 Dec 2018, 07:18 ]

A strength and fitness clothing company has grown its staffing tenfold and doubled turnover after relocating to the Advanced Manufacturing Park, with support from Rotherham Investment and Development Office (RiDO).

SBD Apparel, which manufactures premium performance clothing worn by elite strength and fitness athletes across the world, sought help from RiDO, a partner of the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub Enhancement Project, after moving its offices and warehouses closer to its main factory in Rotherham.

The Enhancement Project is financed by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

RiDO Key Account Manager, John Fox, advised the firm on possible locations and explained the incentives available from moving to a government-designated Enterprise Zone, which led to SBD deciding to base itself at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Catcliffe.

RiDO then provided support to help SBD relocate staff from London to South Yorkshire and hire new employees to expand the business.

In the two years since relocating, SBD has increased turnover by 160 percent, growing its workforce from four members of staff to 41, and been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Benjamin Banks, CEO at SBD Apparel, said: “The support from RiDO has been very refreshing, proactive and wide ranging.

“Our move to the Advanced Manufacturing Park has paid dividends for us, with Enterprise Zone Status giving business rates relief and obviously our expansion and increased turnover.

“I would certainly encourage other businesses to contact RiDO and the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub Enhancement Project for similar support.”

The Enhancement Project provides businesses with intensive one-to-one support from a Key Account Manager and access to free Masterclasses delivered by private sector experts.

For more information about receiving support for your business, contact

New furniture business branching out in Rotherham

posted 11 Dec 2018, 06:42 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 11 Dec 2018, 06:43 ]

A family-run business which specialises in manufacturing bespoke wooden furniture has launched in Rotherham after receiving a £500 grant from the UK Steel Enterprise (UKSE) Kickstart Fund.

Sabin's Furniture was established in September 2018 by Lee Sabin and his son James and is the newest addition to the Wath based Bolton Road Business Park.

Producing unique, industrially designed furniture meeting individual customer specifications, the business manufactures pieces using locally sourced timber and metals – selling their goods online, as well as in small, independent retail units in the area. 

The support from UKSE - a subsidiary of Tata Steel tasked with assisting the economic regeneration of communities affected by changes in the steel industry - enabled the duo to market the business on opening, as well as to purchase some much needed tools.

Lee Sabin, owner of Sabin's Furniture, said: "Earlier this year James and I decided to combine our skill set – with him overseeing production, and me managing the business side of things – in order to pursue our dreams of working for ourselves and producing beautiful, bespoke furniture for our customers. 

"The £500 funding from UKSE was extremely useful, and it allowed us to purchase tools that we needed in order to get the business up and running, as well as fund an initial marketing campaign to raise awareness of the fact that we had opened. 

"Furthermore, the support and guidance that we have received from UKSE throughout the journey has been invaluable and we're excited to put all of our efforts into making the business a success!"

Alan Stanley of UKSE, added: "Both Lee and James are clearly very passionate about making this work and I have no doubt that their hardworking mentality and production of quality products will stand them in good stead for success – best of luck to them both."

Source: Rothbiz

Bodycote holds opening ceremony for new facility and announces further expansion

posted 10 Dec 2018, 05:54 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 10 Dec 2018, 05:55 ]

Bodycote, the world’s largest provider of heat treatments and specialist thermal processing services, held an official opening ceremony last week at its brand new facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham.

The new advanced heat treatment centre, now fully operational and supporting customer requirements, offers a range of heat treatment services and has been established to support the aerospace and power generation markets in the UK and Europe.

The Rotherham facility was officially opened by Andy Greasley, Executive Vice President of Rolls-Royce’s Turbines Supply Chain Unit, in recognition of the enduring partnership between Bodycote and Rolls-Royce. 

Mr. Greasley commented: “Heat treatment and processing is a vital part of our supply chain and Rolls-Royce are delighted to be supported by Bodycote on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham. Close coupling of this capability to our own Rolls-Royce business is critical for our future success and our relationship with Bodycote is one that we truly value.”

Also speaking at the event, AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre) CEO, Colin Sirett, said the new centre will bring a key capability to the Advanced Manufacturing Park: “We’ve got everything from aircraft parts through to carbon fibre chassis for supercars all being manufactured on this site; the one piece of the process that was missing was materials processing. We can cast, we can forge, we can assemble, we can machine, but the one key element that was missing is exactly what Bodycote brings to the park. So it’s great to welcome the Bodycote team here and we are looking forward to working with them for many years to come.”

VIP delegates were also the first to hear about Bodycote’s plans for significant expansion of the new site, which includes the securing of extra units on the Advanced Manufacturing Park. 

Tom Gibbons, President of Bodycote’s Aerospace, Defence & Energy division, commented: “Due to customer demand and interest since the announcement of this new plant in July, we are investing in further capacity and technology. The additional space we secured here at Rotherham is nearly three times the size of our existing unit. We are committed to ensuring we are able to meet our customers’ demand in the years ahead.”

Local SME's invited to support young people

posted 10 Dec 2018, 05:28 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 10 Dec 2018, 05:30 ]

Employers and representatives from local businesses including Signs Express, Jaded Heart, Monica F Hewitt Florists Ltd, RUCST and Mears, recently took part in a successful ‘Meet the employer – Dragons Den’ workshop at the LEAF careers event at Magna. 

The workshop was aimed at better preparing young people for the world of work and was delivered to 197 young people from Rotherham. Feedback from young people included “More people should get this opportunity”, “More useful than expected” and “Great! Awesome!”

If you're a small or medium sized employer with a base in Rotherham and would like to get involved in similar events to both champion local young people and to promote and grow your business, please email:, or call 01709 823853.

Metalysis celebrates Northern Powerhouse Partner status and hosts UK Business and Industry Minister

posted 10 Dec 2018, 03:06 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 10 Dec 2018, 03:08 ]

Metalysis, the Yorkshire headquartered, UK technology company with a solid-state process to produce valuable metal and alloy powders, recently hosted a delegation led by MP Richard Harrington – Business and Industry Minister – as it celebrated becoming a Northern Powerhouse Partner.

Skills, science and innovation are among its focus areas and Metalysis’ inclusion in the programme is well timed. The company recently scaled up to commercial operation, announced in September. This marked the technology’s ascension from a Cambridge University breakthrough, through more than a decade of development, to offering industrial scale production of demand driven, high value powder alloys for international aerospace, automotive, additive and advanced manufacturing applications.

MP Richard Harrington visited Metalysis at its Materials Discovery Centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham, South Yorkshire; part of a £10m expansion project opened by a delegation from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (“BEIS”) in March 2017.

Mr. Harrington met with Metalysis’ leadership team to discuss the Company’s progress, including completing its ‘Generation 4’ industrial-scale expansion at its nearby Materials Manufacturing Centre in Wath upon Dearne, the wide range of advanced materials projects and partners the Company has brought to the region, and its ambitions for future expansion.

Dr. Dion Vaughan, Metalysis CEO, said:
“Metalysis is proud to mark our commitment to the region by joining the Northern Powerhouse Partners Programme.

“During our time with MP Richard Harrington and his colleagues, we have enjoyed discussing Company
ambitions for our technology as part of the national agenda set forth in the Industrial Strategy. We look forward to working with the Northern Powerhouse, its networks and BEIS to strengthen international interest and investment in the overwhelming potential of the Northern economy.”

Northern Powerhouse Minister, Jake Berry, said:
“Supporting research and innovation is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy so I’m pleased to welcome Metalysis as our latest Northern Powerhouse partner. As an ambitious Yorkshire-based company with a commitment to boosting skills, technological development and growing production, they share our vision for a strong Northern Powerhouse economy.”

McLaren Composites Technology Centre opened by Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

posted 16 Nov 2018, 07:28 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 16 Nov 2018, 07:29 ]

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge officially opened Rotherham’s new McLaren Composites Technology Centre this week showcasing the Sheffield City Region's excellence in advanced manufacturing and engineering.

The £50m innovation and manufacturing facility, on the border of Sheffield and Rotherham at the heart of the Advanced Manufacturing Park, aims to become a world-leader in lightweight carbon fibre and composites technology.

It was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Crown Prince of Bahrain on 14 November, at an event attended by high-profile figures from across the Sheffield City Region.

After completing proto-typing, the facility will build McLaren’s lightweight carbon fibre chassis for its new road models from 2020, creating more than 200 jobs and providing an estimated £100 million of GVA (gross value added) benefit to the local economy by 2028.

Sheffield City Region made a financial investment into the project, while partners including the University of Sheffield, Sheffield City Council and Rotherham Council have worked closely with McLaren throughout the process.

Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said: "We know that our region is world-leading in advanced manufacturing and engineering. Investments from companies such as Siemens, Rolls Royce and Boeing are testament to our growing international reputation for excellence.

"It's great to see McLaren Automotive opening, demonstrating further confidence in our strong manufacturing heritage, confidence in our workforce's ability to deliver, and confidence in the cutting-edge collaborations between university and business that enable us to lead the world.

“McLaren will also be a key part of our 'Global Innovation Corridor', creating a connected set of research and business interactions based on our advanced manufacturing and engineering strengths. The opportunities for our communities, for businesses, for researchers and for the workforce of the future are limitless. Today marks a hugely significant moment for South Yorkshire, the wider Northern Powerhouse, and indeed for the UK.”

Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer at McLaren Automotive, praised the Sheffield City Region's expertise in advanced manufacturing, saying: "“It was an honour for myself and all of the 2,300 people at McLaren Automotive to host The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of The Kingdom of Bahrain, to officially open the MCTC and to show them the process we are innovating for the production of carbon fibre. They met some of the extraordinary, creative and passionate people we already have working here who are making that ambition a reality.

“It is an important milestone for us as a ground-breaking, innovative car company and allows us to tap into the great energy, vitality and skills this part of the world has to offer. What goes on here at the MCTC will be vital for our ability to make good on our intention to continue to develop and unveil cars that are lightest in class; it is my belief that Britain – through facilities like this - can become a world leader in lightweight materials technology that will help create more efficient future vehicles.

“We are proud to be bringing new jobs to the Sheffield region which has a long association with advanced materials; first with steel and now a future to look forward to with carbon fibre innovation and production for McLaren.”

President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, Professor Koen Lamberts said: "This new centre is a cause for celebration for our region, the North of England and the UK as a whole.

"We are proud that McLaren was attracted to our region by the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC)'s world-leading research, our investments in facilities and our established partnerships with industry. Just yards away from McLaren's new centre we also have the AMRC Training Centre, which is training McLaren's first degree apprentices in the Sheffield City Region.

"Offering these specialised apprenticeships is helping to ensure that our region has the right skills and knowledge to drive the manufacturing workforce of the future."

Keith Ridgway, Executive Dean of the University of Sheffield's AMRC, said: “It’s great to see McLaren Automotive bringing the production of their supercar bodies to Britain; and even better that they chose to do it here in the Sheffield City Region. The AMRC’s expertise in composites and lightweighting was a critical factor in this great British car maker’s decision to locate their own state-of-the-art factory here in Rotherham.

“Our partnership with McLaren will help develop synergies between future power train development and the clever use of lighter materials to save weight and reduce the energy needed to power them. If the UK is to win the weight race, industry and government and universities must continue to work closely to ensure we make the most of what Composites UK estimate to be a £12 billion market by 2030. That’s why we continue to invest significantly in our lightweighting capability.”

Some of McLaren’s latest sports cars and super cars were also in Tudor Square today thanks to local retailer McLaren Leeds, allowing members of the public to see the vehicles up close, while also learning more about the facility opening just a few miles away.

Rotherham Council Leader Chris Read said: “This is further confirmation of the attractive location that Rotherham has become for investors, with McLaren joining a number of significant other inward investments over the last few years. The borough’s Growth Board and Partnership - alongside our colleagues in Sheffield - are working to give businesses the confidence to invest in jobs, homes and developments and it has resulted in Rotherham becoming one of the fastest growing economies in the country.

“More importantly, this investment should give confidence that the next generation of manufacturing can be secured in our part of the world. Today's Rotherham school pupils are going to grow up to build the next generation of super cars. By creating the right environment for these high skill, high investment businesses, we can ensure that Rotherham will again play an important role in the future of the national economy."

McLaren is the latest in a line of significant international companies to choose to locate in the Sheffield City Region's growing Global Innovation Corridor.

Focused around SCR's skills and specialisms, the Global Innovation Corridor will be a global magnet for people, industry and innovators, connecting assets such as the AMRC, the Olympic Legacy Park, the National College for High Speed Rail and Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

The region's ability to design, develop and distribute innovative solutions, with collaborative partnerships between businesses and Sheffield’s two world-class universities, places us at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution.

The investment has also been welcomed by the Government.

Minister for International Investment, Graham Stuart MP, said: "This is great news for jobs and growth in the UK. McLaren represent the best of British engineering and work closely with DIT and the GREAT Britain campaign to promote UK innovation to the world.

"Today’s opening of the £50m McLaren Composites Technology Centre, which will custom innovate and build the next generation of lightweight carbon fibre chassis and create over 200 new jobs, is another a vote of confidence in the UK as a world leading destination for global investment.

“Famed for its traditional industries, the Sheffield region is once again attracting global investment. The city region’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District is a great example of how international investment continues to create jobs and drive prosperity throughout the Northern Powerhouse.”

Rotherham based Food Circle expand into new premises

posted 30 Oct 2018, 09:30 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 30 Oct 2018, 09:30 ]

Rotherham-based online supermarket, Food Circle, has moved into new premises in Dinnington following rapid expansion. The company, whose main aim is to tackle the issue of food waste fuelled by a national marketing campaign, has seen its customer base double within a matter of weeks.

Food Circle, which was launched in January 2018 by Sheffield Hallam graduate James Barthorpe and his business partner Paul Simpson, is the first online UK-based retailer offering surplus "in-date" healthy food and drink products to customers at half the recommended retail price.

Previously based at RiDO's Century Business Centre in Manvers, the company has now made the move to larger premises at Matrix Business Centre, another centre operated by RiDO. The new location is ideally situated for distribution, making it easier to ship stock to customers across the nation as well as having more room to store the increasing product range.

As part of an ambitious growth strategy, they rolled out a comprehensive online and social media marketing campaign with the help of funding from a UK Steel Enterprise (UKSE) Kickstart grant in September; securing a raft of new clientele and solidifying Food Circle Supermarket's presence as the only retailer of its kind in the UK.

James Barthorpe, co-founder of Food Circle Supermarket, said: "We've been in contact with UK Steel Enterprise since we pitched for their investment as part of the Y-Accelerator programme in March 2018. Since then, the team have been very pro-active in offering their advice and support which has added a lot of value to our business.

"We were also given access to a UKSE Kickstart grant of £500 which we put towards our first ever proactive marketing campaign which has helped us to reach more new customers and grow our business significantly over the last couple of months."

Alan Stanley of UKSE, added: "I'm delighted that James and Paul's hard work and dedication has been recognised in their nomination for a Sheffield Business Award and would like to congratulate them on behalf of everyone at UKSE for their Hallam Enterprise Award win.

"It's excellent to see that the Kickstart grant has been of great help to Food Circle Supermarket, allowing them to reach out to their target market and promote the importance of diverting surplus food away from landfill."

Food Circle website

Plant science firm grows after boost from Y-Accelerator

posted 29 Oct 2018, 09:14 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 29 Oct 2018, 09:15 ]

A Rotherham start-up specialising in scientific apparatus for plant science research has turned their ‘idea on the back of an envelope' into an actual business, after accessing a regional business support programme.

Entrepreneurs Alexis Moschopoulos and Richard Banks have designed new smart plant growth chambers for plant science research. The idea came to Alexis after struggling for many years with poor quality growth chambers while conducting research in plant science. 

The duo read about Y-Accelerator and saw it as an opportunity to make their business, Grobotic Systems, a reality.

The Y-Accelerator programme offers the city region’s next business leaders the opportunity to benefit from a three-month intensive development programme featuring expert advice, mentor support and specialist workshops, as well as the chance to pitch to a panel of high-profile investors including Mercia Technologies, Angels Group, Jenton Group and UK Steel Enterprise.

The programme is delivered by a partnership of the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub, Rotherham Investment and Development Office (RiDO) and Sheffield Hallam University. 

Alexis said: “It really helped us focus on our ideas and confirm our beliefs about our product and our target customers. Also, the training on developing a pitch was very good and very helpful for us to concisely pitch for investment on such a niche and complicated subject.” 

Delivered through one-to-one and group sessions, tailored to meet the needs of every candidate, the Y-Accelerator programme’s network of advisors, mentors and businesses will provide insight and expertise.

The 12-week programme will run from November 2018 to February 2019 and include business modelling techniques, expert advice, mentors, specialist workshops, market research and individual support to help the ten chosen projects build a strong customer proposition and financial model as well as learn to effectively communicate the business value to customers and investors.

Amanda Parris, Business Growth Manager for RiDO, said: “This is a programme like no other and we want people who think differently, who we can work with to create a viable, scalable business and this is certainly the case with Alexis and Richard’s business. 

“We have a highly experienced team, part of Rotherham’s network of business incubators, to support entrepreneurs. The Y-Accelerator programme is open to all industry sectors, although logistics, manufacturing, and automation are especially of interest.”

Having been involved with the Y-Accelerator for a number of years UK Steel Enterprise, a subsidiary of Tata Steel tasked with helping the economic regeneration of communities affected by changes in the steel industry, is offering a £1,000 prize for the winner of this year’s programme.

Regional Manager of UKSE, Keith Williams, added: “This year, we’re offering a cash prize for the winner which will allow them to kick-start their business model that will have been developed and nurtured throughout the 12-week programme. In addition, they will have the opportunity to pitch for investment.”

Also, Design futures, a commercially focused product and packaging design consultancy group based within Sheffield Hallam University, is offering consultancy services worth £2,000. This will be broken down into seven, two-hour sessions. 

The Y-Accelerator programme is currently open to applicants from all industry sectors, although logistics, manufacturing, and automation are especially of interest.

Y-Accelerator is a collaboration between private and public organisations, including Sheffield Hallam University, RiDO and entrepreneur in residence from Gripple Ltd.

Work begins on Gulliver's Valley Theme Park

posted 25 Sep 2018, 06:44 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 25 Sep 2018, 06:45 ]

Work has begun on the new Gulliver’s family theme park resort – with the developers looking to open to the public in spring 2020.

The development – which Gulliver’s say will be their “most ambitious theme park to date” was granted planning permission by Rotherham Council last year. 

The Gulliver’s Valley resort, which will be situated on the 250 acre former Pithouse West site between Wales Bar and Aston in the south of the borough, will include a main theme park hub along with family -friendly accommodation with glamping, self-catering woodland lodges and the central Lilliput Castle Hotel.
Cllr Denise Lelliott, Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy said: “I’m really excited to see work starting on this major development for Rotherham and what promises to be a catalyst for economic growth and job creation in the area.
“I look forward to seeing work progress on the site and the hard work and planning over the past few years coming to fruition.
“With work now starting on Gulliver’s, and the new caravan and campsite facilities at nearby Rother Valley Country Park also progressing well, I hope the area will be welcoming in many visitors in the not-too-distant future.”
Gulliver’s aims to open its brand-new Valley Resort in 2020 which will include a main theme park hub, with rides and attractions aimed at children aged two to 13 and their families. Gulliver’s Valley will also include an indoor water play zone, a climbing centre, a glades attraction, and an education and ecology centre encompassing forest classrooms and outdoor learning adventures for young children.
The resort will also offer family-friendly accommodation in the shape of glamping, self-catering woodland lodges and the central Lilliput Castle Hotel. The development will encompass Gully's Dream Village, a community where children with life-threatening illnesses can be given the chance to enjoy cost-free respite in a magical environment.
In addition, nature trails, walks, outdoor gyms and woodland runs at Gulliver’s Valley will be available to be used by the local community as well as visitors to the theme park.

Harworth complete phase three of AMP development

posted 12 Sep 2018, 07:23 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 12 Sep 2018, 07:24 ]

Harworth Group plc, a leading regenerator of land and property for development and investment, has announced the practical completion of six new speculative ‘R-evolution’ units totalling 56,549 sq. ft as part of its continued expansion of the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham. 

The AMP, the UK’s premier advanced technology park, has been designed to bring together world-class organisations for the advancement of technology solutions in precision industries, including aerospace, defence, construction, automotive and sport. 

Additional major occupiers include the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Boeing, Rolls Royce, McLaren Automotive, Castings Technology International (CTI), Dormer Tools and Sandvik Coromant.

David Travis, Director of Business Space at Harworth Group, said:

“Another six completed units have been delivered to the highest quality and I want to express my continued thanks to both JF Finnegan and our appointed project team for a job well done. We are now focussed on promoting these units for immediate leasehold occupation to advanced manufacturing and engineering companies, who wish to be a part of the collaborative cluster of high-value occupants that has been successfully established at the AMP over the last decade.”

The scheme is being marketed by jointly appointed agents Knight Frank and Gent Visick.

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