When CentriLogic wanted to expand its operations from Canada into Europe, it wasn’t just IT that mattered, it was location too. The Company was established in 2007, and just four years later, were already expanding into European territories.
So, what made this cutting-edge, consistently top 100 Canadian IT company choose urban Bracknell in Thames Valley Berkshire for its European base? Nigel Offley, CentriLogic’s VP EMEA, and brother to founder Robert Offley, explains.
Selling was key in the early days
“Getting a strong foothold in the UK meant securing some big clients. The Thames Valley Berkshire area has a wealth of large well-established companies that are CentriLogic’s ideal clients.”
Securing two large clients locally meant the company was cash positive within just four months of setting up in the UK.
Today, the company is enjoying 20% growth year-on-year.
A safe, solid, stable environment
For companies like CentriLogic, security is a real consideration—it needs to ensure it can provide customers with connectivity and power 100% of the time. Bracknell offered the Company a solid, secure, safe base.
“It’s important that you’re in an area with no risks or security threats, yet close enough to London to provide valued services.”
Whether you have an IT, Cloud or cleaning business, location and accessibility are still vital. Nigel loves their location, just off the A329, and the excellent train links into London, make Bracknell an ideal base for visiting clients, and for clients to come to them.
On a practical level, Nigel noted how easy it is to get to work in the morning, without fighting his way through a choked city centre. On a day to day basis, this makes a huge difference. “Bracknell is a little hidden gem.”
Network—meet and talk to the right people
Having access to people who can help your business grow and develop is another key aspect, and again, another real benefit of the area. Nigel had this advice for start-ups…
“Go networking. Embrace local groups, take the time to do it. The business won’t grow on its own, or quickly. Spend time, make networking a priority. Figure out what you want and ask the right questions. If you’re a business that wants local business, take the time to go out there and ask local businesses what they need, how they structure their services, how you can help. Focus and time are the key.”
Nigel has certainly made the most of Thames Valley Berkshire’s (TVB) wide range of networking and mentoring opportunities, commenting on the breadth of different places you can go. For IT, many companies are happy to support incubation organisations with free services for the first six months.
Nigel also noted what a great support his local MP, Philip Lee, has been, and how active Philip is in the local business community.
“Having strong people, you can talk to about business is key. There’s a lot of people with an entrepreneurial spirit in this area, and they’re mostly happy to help.”
In the meantime, for a capital-intensive business such as CentriLogic, that needs space and equipment, Nigel is very happy to call Berkshire home, and to be scaling-up here.
The next step for Nigel is continuing the company’s growth by increasing its presence in Germany and Hong Kong. So far, growth has been largely self-funded, but this may change, and he’s keenly aware of the opportunity for access to finance through TVB LEP.
Nigel is confident about the future, particularly for IT in TVB, commenting that an increasing number of CFO and CIOs are realising that rather than having their own in-house IT team, the future lies with outsourcing to specialists, like CentriLogic, allowing their clients to scale-up, just as they’re doing.