A SOUTH Tyneside enterprise agency is getting crafty to boost local business.
Tedco is creating dedicated craft units at its business centre at Viking Industrial Park, Jarrow.
Recognising the growing number of home-based craft businesses that are being set up across the region, Tedco is converting some of its small industrial units into a mix of craft, workshop and hybrid units.
They are designed specifically to meet the needs of fledgling businesses working in the sector.
The six units will range from 150sq ft to 350sq ft, providing space for between one to six people.
They have been designed to include workbenches, storage and racking, but can be customised to meet the needs of individual businesses.
In addition to the space on offer, Tedco will provide additional support to tenants to help them to grow their business.
Advice on marketing, selling online, finance and other business-related issues will also be made available through Tedco’s network of advisers.
This follows figures from economic research and strategy consultancy, TBR, revealing there are more than 18,700 businesses working in the UK craft industry, but nearly 80 per cent of craft businesses are either sole traders or employ less than four people. Many are home-based. Hilary Woolard, centre manager at Tedco Business Centre, Jarrow, said: “We hope our units will help those individuals who are keen to turn their hobby or small business into a successful business, and will be offering them support to do so.
“We have designed the units so that they will meet the needs of a wide range of businesses, from typical small craft producers such as cake and confectionery, jewellery and jams to furniture-makers.
“With online sales now amounting for 12 per cent of all retail sales in the UK, there are limitless opportunities for small craft businesses to sell their products to a national and global market.
“However, in order to meet the demands of increased orders, craft businesses need to have the appropriate facilities and the infrastructure in place to deliver, which is why we have created these dedicated units.
“While a number of home-based businesses enjoy great success, they are sometimes limited by the types of contracts they can go for.
“The craft units will allow such businesses to tender for bigger pieces of work and as the units form part of the business centre, we can also provide tenants with administration and reception support to give their creative business a professional edge.
“We have designed the units so that they will meet the needs of a wide range of businesses, from typical small craft producers such as cake and confectionery, jewellery and jams to furniture makers.”
Work on the craft units is now underway and the first tenants can expect to move in by mid-April.
Tedco Business Centre was purpose-built in 1994 to provide a mixture of office space and light assembly and manufacturing units.