An expanding building design company based in London is conducting its business in the Midlands for the first time at a state-of-the-art business centre in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Nerys Viner heads up the sales and analytics team at White Chalk from a ‘hot desk’ at Venture House – Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s Business Centre, based on the Avenue Farm Industrial Estate.
White Chalk was launched four years ago by Daniel Gray in Notting Hill Gate, London, when he spotted a gap in the market to provide Computer Generated Images (CGIs) for developers and housing associations wanting to sell new build homes off-plan.
Its team of highly-experienced software designers remain in the capital developing CGI interiors, 3D site plans and property floor plans as well as brochures and signage for housing developments.
Daniel previously worked with Nerys at estate agents Connells and knowing she was working from an office in her garden shed at her Stratford home, he asked her to open a Midlands hub.
Nerys met the team from Venture House at a networking event organised by Stratford Business Forum and having looked round the facilities, she thought this was the perfect office space.
Venture House was opened thanks to £450,000 of funding from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and is led by a team from Stratford-on-Avon District Council. The award was part of an overall £89.4 million Local Growth Fund package for Coventry and Warwickshire announced in January 2015.
Venture House has 2,500 square feet of business space over two floors offering hot-desking, co-working space, self-contained offices, superfast broadband, parking and free business support through the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP Growth Hub, along with conferencing facilities.
Benefits of hot-desking
Nerys hot-desks along with her White Chalk colleagues Aggy Simota, Sara Norcott and graduate Serena Murugesu and has no regrets about swapping working from home to an office environment.
“The facilities are fabulous,” she said. “When we are meeting clients, from a business point of view it is much better having an office base than talking to people over the telephone from home. It is much more professional.
“The fact there is a meeting room here is really good for interviews and the cost of hot-desking is really reasonable which means we have a competitive edge but not high overheads.
“Venture House also holds networking events and I have met a printer who is going to provide a quote for our marketing materials so we are connecting with other businesses here plus working in an office again is good for bouncing ideas off other people.
“The staff here are really friendly and helpful which means there is always a warm welcome for our clients and we feel part of the team.
“Our aim is to attract businesses we have not previously dealt with so having a new base in Stratford means we can target developers in the Midlands and North rather than predominantly in the South to grow White Chalk.
“More and more developers are wanting to see properties off-plan come to life and it is important for prospective buyers to be able to see external and internal images of their potential new home or look at a 3D animation to see nearby buildings. The business is really taking off.”
Flexibility is key
Nancy Singleton, Centre Manager, said: “The whole ethos of Venture House is to provide flexible working space to support the needs of start-up, new and growing businesses.
“The centre is attracting a real diverse mix of businesses who are attracted by our package of facilities and hot-desking is really popular since it means businesses can use the space for as little or as often as they need.
“We are delighted that the White Chalk team feels at home and that the centre meets their business needs. We want Venture House to be a ‘one stop shop’ for businesses by providing them with a positive working environment where they can access the facilities and support they need so that they can be productive. Venture House is going from strength to strength.”
Lucy McGovern, CWLEP Programme Development Manager, added: “Venture House was established for businesses such as White Chalk to provide innovative facilities to help their business grow.
“Hot-desking provides the flexibility which is attractive to entrepreneurs and businesses as well as encouraging interaction between everyone working there.”
To find out more about Venture House, please visit www.venturehousestratford.co.uk or contact 01789 207500.
Caption: From the left, Nerys Viner, Serena Murugesu and Aggy Simota from White Chalk with Anne Solomon from Venture House