Wokingham a haven for entrepreneursBy Julie Spencer
October 16, 2012
Wokingham has been hailed as a success story for entrepreneurs after a business park celebrated its 100th letting.
John Redwood MP visited Space Business Centre in Molly Millars Lane on Friday to congratulate staff and meet the newest tenants, Julie and Gary Carter.
The couple moved from premises in Winkfield after overwhelming demand from the UK, Europe and the US for its sterile keyboard, invented by Mr Carter to improve hygiene in the NHS.
They failed to find a suitable location for their Rainbow Services business in their home town of Bracknell and moved to Wokingham to take advantage of the short leases offered at Space.
Mrs Carter said: “We were working from home and from Winkfield but we needed more space and couldn’t find anything in Bracknell.
“My husband invented the anti-bacterial keyboard, which uses nano-silver technology, after visiting his father in hospital and contracting rheumatic fever.
“We then read the average keyboard has more germs than a toilet seat and came up with the invention of a keyboard that can be cleaned after each use.
“We supply Royal Berkshire Hospital, Wexham Park as well as other hospitals across the country.
“We have been going for three-and-a-half years had enquiries from Europe and America and cannot keep up with demand.”
Rainbow Services has taken one unit but has signed up for a second, if and when one becomes available.
Alex Gale, Space Business Centre director, said Rainbow Services was just one example of the huge range of businesses at the 52-unit park.
“This is a good news story for Wokingham, particularly in times of recession. John Redwood was at our opening in 2009 and he managed to find time to come back to celebrate our 100 per cent occupancy.
“We have a huge range of occupiers, including web designers, CGI film people, dog parlours, plumbing suppliers, graphic designers, online retailers and an Australian lift operator who found us on Google.
“The majority of our tenants are start-ups. Some of them have been working in their garage or on their dining room table and taking their steps on the commercial property ladder.”
Businesses at the site, the former home of US manufacturing business Radyne, can use the site’s kitchen and showers and have grown into a community, he said.
“When Radyne closed down, 60 people were employed here but the units here have created more than 100 jobs.
“We would like to set up in Bracknell and Reading but we are struggling to get the funding from the banks.”
Mrs Carter added: “It’s brilliant and we love it here. We were delighted to meet the directors and Mr Redwood and hope they will get more sites because they are affordable and clean.
“We certainly could not have built sterile keyboards in some of the other business premises we looked around.”
Mr Redwood said: “I was pleased to be invited back to the Space Centre.
“It was good to learn that all their small and starter units have tenants. They even have a waiting list.
“I met the latest tenant to sign up. The company is supplying keyboards to the NHS that are easier to keep clean and sterile.
“It looked like a winning idea which is catching on with various hospitals and surgeries.”