Starting a business in Leicester: Viva IT

The software start-up offers a first-hand perspective of starting and growing business in "forward thinking city" Leicester...

Company name: Viva IT
Founder: Kiel Goodman
Founded: 2013
Description: Design and create web-based software to enhance and grow small and large businesses.
Website: www.vivait.co.uk

What’s great about starting a business in Leicester?

With it being such a forward thinking city, it was the ideal place to set some roots down and commit to our plans to become a respected software hut with a great team.

What business support in Leicester have you used? How was it?

DOCK offers great support to businesses in many way. We also  accessed the Launchpad grant funding to secure new equipment; this has proved essential in developing cutting edge software that is flexible to our customers needs.

Name the top three reasons to set up a business in Leicester:

  1. Leicester has an excellent cycle network, in most cases we can get to and from the office quicker on a bike than in a car.
  2. Leicester (and East Midlands in general) has a small but growing technology community, we set ourselves targets to be at the centre of the growth and contribute to this. Since we set down roots back in December we have sponsored local user-groups, the upcoming Launch48 event in November, presented a guest lecture at De Montfort University, and offered free technology workshops at our offices – there is plenty to offer any tech group looking to grow
  3. Leicester also has two universities that have proved vital in providing great talent to our company.

Where could Leicester be better / what does it need?

In our opinion Leicester and East Midlands in general suffers from a lack of an awareness of a technology community, there are distributed pockets of people that – if unified – would be comparable to larger user-groups such as those in the North West and London. A subsidised place to host such events would be very helpful too.

How easy has it been to access finance to grow?

The team at DOCK and the council have been very helpful and accessing grand funding was very easy with their help. We have no current plans to access finance at this stage.

Where do you go to network in Leicester?

Thanks to a combined effort of the public sector and the private sector, there’s lots of little communities that meet-up regularly to network and learn. One that we are involved with is PHP East Midlands, and user group that meets up monthly and the members take it in turn to do a talk or presentation on some new technology they’ve learnt, or anything that might be useful to the others.

We also provide free workshops to the community, and other companies having started following suit – creating a great community. There’s also a few business start-up groups that hold things like open coffees, hackathons and even social nights out, such as Leicester Tech Startups.

Where do you take a client for a business lunch?

There’s a few great but little known delis that provide fantastic food at great prices. Our favourite is a place called Willey Cannes, at the bottom of New Walk, which is so popular they have two different shops! Both sell slightly different fillings and varieties, but both provide huge and delicious lunches at a really good price.

Where’s great for a company night out?

There’s lots of local pubs with great ales and real beers, and there’s more of them popping up constantly. Thanks to being surrounded by universities, there’s a real vibrant and diverse nightlife, making it suitable for the mix of characters you usually find in a young company workforce.

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