Starting a business in Nottingham: Access Intelligent Services/Coteswood House

With two successful businesses in the Nottingham area, founder Wastell explains why it was the start-up city-of choice...

Company name: Access Intelligent Services Limited, also recently bought out Coteswood House
Founder: Oliver Wastell
Founded: 2008
Description: Access builds bespoke databases for companies including Bombardier and MySight. Coteswood is a local pre-school and nursery.

What’s great about starting a business in Nottingham?

Nottingham has a very strong networking community with a number of different networking groups. We joined the BNI Business Team over five years ago and meets with other local businesses on a weekly basis. Through these meetings we have grown the sphere of business contacts and clients whilst drawing upon a lot of help and support from fellow members of the group.

Other great things about Nottingham: good central location in the country, good public transport, lots of green space.

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

There are a number of serviced offices in Nottingham many of which offer virtual offices for those businesses that still operate from the ‘back bedroom’ that wish to portray a more professional business address. Most of the support that has been required has normally been found within BNI Business Team: accountants, solicitors, property surveyors, IT support, tradesmen, recruitment consultants, mortgage advisors, financial advisors, etc.

We also rent an office in an accountancy practise located in Mapperley hich eliminates ‘the commute’, keeps rent down,  eliminates business rates, provides a professional working environment and benefits from all the local amenities (i.e. food outlets, coffee shops, restaurants, etc.). Our landlord we know from another local group – The Rotary Club of Nottingham which meets at the Crown Plaza in the centre of Nottingham and is another source of useful business contacts.

Name the top three reasons to set up a business here:

  1. Multi-cultural university city with vibrant city centre.
  2. Great networking community.
  3. Property prices reasonable compared with other parts of the country (this was a key factor in deciding to come to Nottingham).

Where could Nottingham be better / what does it need?

Whilst there are reasonable links to London (e.g. M1 and trains) improved links to London would be a bonus. The sooner HS2 comes to Nottingham the better. Links to M1 South and East Midlands airport are being improved with the widening of the A453 and the new tram line being put in between Nottingham City Centre and Clifton.

How easy has it been to access finance to grow?

There are plenty of local banks although we have not accessed funding from these. Some of our clients in the manufacturing sector have been able to obtain grant funding from the likes of the Manufacturing Advisory Service towards improvement projects which has allowed them to access my services.

Where do you go to network in the city? 

There are various networking groups that meet in various venues (both city centre and surrounding suburbs). The networking events organised by Shamshad Walker are popular with many and are held twice a month at Pure Offices and the Nottingham Playhouse. The Nottingham City Business Club was established in 1924 and is a good place to network and meet with many of the bigger businesses in Nottingham.

Where do you take a client for a business lunch/ meeting?

Harts Restaurant is an exclusive venue in a great setting with fantastic food and service.

Where’s great for a company night out?

An entertaining night out for a group of colleagues is a bite to eat in the restaurant at the Nottingham Greyhound Stadium watching the dogs followed by a short taxi ride into the city centre and visiting the ALEA Casino or The Forum nightclub located in the Corner House.

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