Textile Centre of Excellence
TEXTILES are still creating a stir in Huddersfield – and the Textile Centre of Excellence is leading the way.
The not-for-profit company at Red Doles Lane, off Leeds Road, is spearheading innovation and creativity for the industry in the town.
The centre, which is owned by industry, provides training from introductory courses and modern apprenticeships to training for technicians and managers.
It also supports business start-ups through its weaving workshops, clothing studio and design incubator.
Among its recent achievements, the centre has led the creation of the Enterprise Foundation, a not-for-profit partnership of leading figures from business, education, the community, local government and agencies working to provide practical help for people with business ideas.
The foundation has assisted almost 70 people in Kirklees to start new businesses with a further new starts in Calderdale.
The textile centre has also led the partnership which launched Yorkshire Fashion Week – culminating in a spectacular gala show at the Galpharm Stadium in June.
Yorkshire Fashion Week celebrated the talents of local designers as well as promoting the links between the region’s universities, colleges and textile and clothing manufacturers.
It also aimed to increase the potential for commercial development of undergraduates’ and graduates’ fashion collections.
The gala show was supported by Minister for Yorkshire Rosie Winterton and drew key figures from the fashion industry, including Burberry creative director Christopher Bailey and Rita Britton, of Pollyanna. Plans are now under way for Yorkshire Fashion Week 2010.
The centre is also leading an industry partnership to help local textile manufacturers develop technical textiles – such as woven aerospace components, anti-bacterial fabrics, improved flame retardency using less water and chemicals as well as the first woollen fabric that includes botanical DNA to protect against counterfeiting.
The centre has also joined agencies in Portugal, Greece and Romania to develop online learning materials to help people with disabilities to start their own business.
The Engine Room
A TOP-RATED design company is going from strength to strength after making its home in Huddersfield.
The Engine Room, which was formed in 2001, moved from Leeds to the Media Centre in Northumberland Street last May – reducing commuting times for its employees, who all live in the town.
Since then the company has set about helping Huddersfield businesses – and firms further afield – to develop their brands.
Directors Darren Evans and Helen Whitehead, who built the business from a standing start, said its success was down to undertaking projects which "have had a demonstrable effect on business performance" for its clients.
The company creates and develops brand identities for companies of all sizes in sectors including manufacturing, finance, retailing and health. The Engine Room was recently recognised by the Design Council for work carried out to create brands for growing companies.
Among its successes, The Engine Room helped Interior Surfaces Ltd to double turnover in three years with branding work to show off the client’s range of kitchen work surfaces to better effect. The work included marketing materials, van livery, signs and websites for the commercial and domestic market.
The Engine Room also carried out a re-branding project for client Xiros. Since then, the Leeds-based medical equipment manufacturer has boosted new business enquiries dramatically – and has credited its makeover for helping to achieve a seven-fold increase in new orders. The work included updating the firm’s logo, improving marketing materials and devising a new van livery.
Other companies helped by The Engine Room include medical devices distributor UK Medical, nursery products firm Baa Baa Blinds and the Huddersfield-based "green" business Footprint Bags.
Said Darren: "Working mainly in the business-to-business market, we use our mix of creativity and knowledge of design effectiveness to create visible brands that engage with customers and deliver a measurable return on investment for the client."
Creative Industries Development Agency
HUDDERSFIELD is getting creative – thanks to the efforts of an agency based in the town.
The Creative Industries Development Agency (CIDA), formed in 2000 as part of the Huddersfield Creative Town Initiative, helps develop viable and vibrant businesses and communities through creativity and innovation.
Over the past 10 years, CIDA has provided business mentoring, networking and training opportunities to more than 4,000 creative enterprises across the region – more than half of them in Huddersfield and the Kirklees area.
During this time, CIDA has put more than £10m back into the local economy by commissioning design and other freelance activities, acting as an ambassador for Huddersfield across the world and working in 26 countries as far afield as Norway, China and the USA.
On behalf of the Singapore government, CIDA exported expertise and knowledge to help develop the creative sector in that country.
It has also formed strategic partnerships with innovation specialists in California’s Silicon Valley and joined a pan-European consortium to develop a continent-wide network for creativity and innovation.
Earlier this year, CIDA concluded its four-year programme of skills development for Yorkshire Forward’s Renaissance Programme – providing employment and contract opportunities for games developers, puppeteers, artists and performers.
CIDA has won plaudits from the Arts Council England for its work in the region to further the new knowledge-based creative and digital industries.
Chief executive Anamaria Wills has also been invited to address Commonwealth leaders and international business leaders on the creative industries at the Commonwealth Business Conference in Trinidad later this month.
Her talk, Seeing is Believing, will tell the world the story of Huddersfield as one of the UK’s most successful creative places.