Adam’s “massive decision” is a winner thanks to support from Centenary Business Centre

“The Centenary Centre has everything you need as a small business, but also has an intimacy that makes working there a pleasure. It felt like the team at the CBC were part of our team!”

If you are looking for ways to spend more time with your young family, then starting a small business would probably not be top of the list.

Creating and establishing an SME is a tough, time-consuming process with plenty of hard yards and long hours. But when Adam Bartram started up ElevAero at the Centenary Business Centre, in Nuneaton, in 2011 he had a good plan.

Armed with decades of experience of the aerospace and defence industries, he felt he had the expertise and contacts to go it alone. It was, Adam admits, a “massive decision” – but eight years on that decision has been totally vindicated.

ElevAero (derived from ‘Elevation in Aerospace’) is growing in reputation and size and is continually recruiting, while Adam is still managing to see plenty of his young family, which has itself grown, having two daughters, now aged nine and six.

It is a heartwarming success story in which a big factor has been the “perfect” base offered by the Centenary BC until last November when ElevAero, having simply grown too big, moved across Nuneaton to Bermuda Park.

“We had adopted our first little daughter and basically I wanted to spend time more with her,” said Adam.

“After many years working long hours for other businesses, I was just keen to work equally hard but, where possible from 9.00 to 5.30, enabling me to spend invaluable time with my family.”

“It was a massive decision, but I had the belief and the determination and with the on-going support of my wife Paula and then later, a long-time friend/business partner Duncan Morris as Operations Director, we felt the potential was there to create a successful business with a unique offering.

“At first, I just needed a base and I knew about the Centenary Business Centre having attended a meeting for a company I worked for previously. I met with Lisa and Julie there and we were soon moving into Unit Six.

“Initially, there was basically just a desk, a white-board, a filing cabinet, one plant, me and my laptop! Then, over the years we expanded from Unit Six to Unit Eight, then we added Unit Ten and, in 2015, moved to Unit 56. Finally, last year, we had to leave. We were sad to go in many ways but the business had simply just grown too much and we needed the additional space as we introduced CNC manufacturing to further enhance our sourcing and supply offering.”

Not that it has been a tale of smooth, stress-free success. Running an SME is rarely like that – and that is where the staff and facilities at the centre showed their true value.

“We went through a difficult time in 2015,” he said. “We were struggling to grow as quickly as planned and had a turnover of just £160,000 but we knew we were close so we chose to borrow funds to keep us going. That was a tough time because there are plenty of pressures in setting up and running a small business anyway, so it was fantastic to have the centre’s support to ease some of those pressures.

“Lisa and Julie are great, taking in deliveries, welcoming visitors and arranging the meeting room etc. The Centenary Centre has everything you need, as a small business, but also has an intimacy that makes working there a pleasure. It felt like the team at the CBC were part of our team!”

The decision to ‘stick it out’ and borrow paid off.

“Last year our turnover was £875,000 and this year we are looking at over £1.5 million – and the centre has been a big factor on our journey.”

With a growing number of aerospace clients in the UK and with low cost supply chain partners in India, China and Eastern Europe, as well as many throughout the UK, ElevAero’s journey is far from over. Meanwhile Adam’s number one objective – time with the family – has also been achieved.

“It has been great for us to be able spend time with our two girls by getting the work/life balance just right,” he said. “The business is targeting further growth and acquisitions in 2019 and beyond and we are also about to employ our first apprentice.

“The Centenary Business Centre was the perfect springboard for the business and I thank the team there for helping us embark on our exciting journey.”

To find out more about the range of accommodation available within Warwickshire County Council’s business centres, please call: 02476 796400 or email: eliotpark@warwickshire.gov.uk