Council business support for Zenzero "was about much more than funding."
"Steph added so much value with her knowledge and advice about what other support is out there. It wasn't just a case of 'here's some money,' it was always 'right - what else can we do?'"
Warwick IT company Zenzero has entered 2020 perfectly equipped for further growth following a small capital grant from Warwickshire County Council.
The grant enabled the company to carry out refurbishment to the benefit of employees, customers and visitors alike - but company founder Anne Tasker insists the support received from the county council, through business support adviser Steph Williams, "was about much more than funding."
In 2018, Zenzero came up against a big problem. They had simply run out of room at their base at Warwick Innovation Centre and, without expansion, simply could not meet the growing demand from clients. Had the business, which Anne set up in 2004, reached its ceiling?
Then Steph got involved - and two years on Zenzero's 50 staff, including five recruited as a direct result of the grant, are working in an environment brimming with 'feelgood factor.'
"Quite simply, the grant enabled us to transform the business," Anne said. "Early in 2018 we just didn't have enough desk space. There is only a certain amount you can do with the space you have and we had reached the absolute limit. We were in three units at the centre, which had served us well, but had simply outgrown them.
"Also they were looking very tired and, in this business, it is all about giving the right impression. It was very frustrating because we didn't see a solution. We seemed to be in a cul-de-sac. But then the small capital grant programme enabled us to take on an additional two units at the centre and also refurbish our existing ones.
"In this region we are competing against the big boys for staff and customers so it is really important to make the environment appealing for both. We now have a light and spacious environment which is comfortable to work in and we have meeting-rooms where you are proud to host clients. It is a really positive, warm environment and, from where we were, there is an incredible feel-good factor about the place.
"We literally couldn't have done it without the county council's support. Steph added so much value with her knowledge and advice about what other support is out there. It wasn't just a case of ‘here's some money,' it was always 'right - what else can we do?'"
That advice has led to collaboration with the University of Warwick under the Knowledge Transfer Programme focusing on Cyber Security.
"In this sector, it is absolutely crucial for a business to evolve as quickly as the world evolves around it," said Anne. "A huge part of what we do now is around cyber-security. These days it is about much more than delivering the latest tech, it's about being right on top of IT threats - and being ahead of them.
"I am really proud of the knowledge and expertise we already have on board at Zenzero and the link-up with the university can only further enhance that."
* The advice for the company was delivered as part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council.
To find out more about the range of support available to grow your business, please contact the Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747.