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Harborough firm lands Innovation Centre workspace for being ‘one step ahead’ of competitors

Just two months after winning a major business innovation competition, a Market Harborough company is looking forward to “laying down roots” a new office sapce.

Oakwood Training, currently a home-run business, is moving into the Harborough Innovation Centre after being named the winners of the Pioneer 10 scheme.

The programme, funded by Harborough District Council and run out of the Harborough Innovation Centre, was launched in spring 2017 to drive expansion among businesses across the district.

A total of 10 finalists were selected and paired with a mentor or business specialist from their chosen industry. In February judges eventually named Oakwood Training as the overall winners, having been impressed with their depth of market knowledge and opportunistic, online model.

Established in 2012 by husband and wife team Gemma and Terry Streather, the company provides business with advice and support on the personal safety and positive mental health of their staff.

Gemma said: “We were delighted and honoured to win the award. The continued support from the Pioneer Programme experts and access to office space at the Innovation Centre will be hugely beneficial to us as we continue to grow the business, develop online products and expand into exciting new sectors.”

As well taking advantage of the tailored support from the Pioneer 10 Programme, Oakwood Training has received an additional package of office space andbusiness support worth up to £5,000.

Stuart Hartley, Innovation Director at Harborough Innovation Centre, said: “After meeting with all 10 pioneers, mentors and specialist support teams earlier this year, it was clear that Oakwood Training had achieved the most progress from the support we had given them. They are one step ahead of their competitors and delivered their pitch seamlessly.

“They used all our advice and guidance to steer their business to the next level. They thoroughly deserve the opportunity to be able to work from within the hub of creativity and inspiration at the Harborough Innovation Centre.

“We look forward to watching Gemma and Terry build their business using the centre as the home to their empire, laying down the roots from which all successful companies grow.”

Terry added: “The help and guidance we received from the programme so far has been brilliant. Our mentor has been great fun to work with and helped us set strategic priorities to scale our business.

“The experts have been so generous in sharing their time and knowledge with us, helping us to improve the way we operate and attract new clients. The biggest thing we have learnt is that by working on (rather than in) our business, exciting things start to happen.”

In total, it has helped more than 400 fledgling businesses through pragmatic workshops, a website packed with free downloadable tools as well as one to one business coaching from Harborough Innovation Centre business coaches.

Interested in Pioneer 10 Harborugh? Our new 2018 programme is now open.

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