Investing in new products, marketing and manufacturing is a strategy that has seen Nottingham based Hillarys thrive in the midst of recession. And now the company, a market leader in the design, manufacture and installation of window coverings, which employs more than 900 people locally, has secured a Nottingham Technology Grant Fund (N’Tech) award of £181,500 to help underpin future growth.
The N’Tech programme is supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF).
The grant will help fund new product and e-commerce development, state-of-the-art machinery, the creation of a new soft fabric range and enhance company infrastructure to support new products and services. It will also create 47 new jobs in Nottingham by the end of 2016 and safeguard a further 30.
CEO John Risman says that Hillarys, which is also this year’s Nottinghamshire Company of the Year in the Nottingham Post Business Awards, has invested significantly into driving into new markets during challenging times when home improvement was in the firing line and this has resulted in increased market share and turnover.
“As a business we have never shied away from putting serious money into growth and we are thrilled to have received this award which will help us maintain our run-rate and recruit more local people.
“We have been quick to recognise emerging markets and changing consumer behaviour. The initial success of our move into shutters prompted us to look at other new markets too, such as curtains, which is also gaining great momentum. The grant will help support increased manufacturing capacity of our soft furnishings product category here in Nottingham.
“There will also be growth in the market for more sophisticated cordless and motorised systems, partly through child safety legislation and partly through rising demand for energy saving products. We are now looking at designing and bringing new and innovative blind systems to market.”
Developing mobile and e-commerce is also a key driver in the business and the N’Tech grant will help Hillarys create an international website, an ‘app’ for in-home use and chip and pin technology.
The City’s inward investment agency Invest in Nottingham, Nottingham City Council, Gedling Borough Council and Nottinghamshire County Council are working closely together to support Hillarys in a number of areas to assist their expansion and growth.
Lorraine Baggs, Trade & Investment Manager at Invest in Nottingham added “Invest in Nottingham is pleased to have been involved in facilitating the N’Tech grant and supporting another business to become even more successful in Nottingham.”
N’Tech grants are geared towards the growing life science, digital content and clean technology sectors and the fund is delivered by Nottingham City Council. So far 63 offers of grants have been made totalling £7.4 million which have the potential to create and safeguard 1,755 jobs and leverage £38.8 million of private sector investment in Greater Nottingham.
N’Tech is a core element of Nottingham City Council’s Nottingham Growth Plan delivered through its “Growing Nottingham” campaign – a blueprint for the city’s future business growth and one of the most ambitious strategies of the UK’s Core Cities. Measures introduced as part of the plan have played a key role in encouraging new business formation through various finance and support packages.
N’Tech grants are funded solely through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF). Nottingham City Council secured RGF from the Government for grants to help fast track development of businesses based in the city. The funding can provide grants of £20,000 to £1 million per successful company to support growth and expansion. N’Tech is open to applications until 30 September 2014.
Councillor Jon Collins, Leader of Nottingham City Council said “Hillarys is another of Nottingham’s business success stories and as a significant employer across the city and county makes a valuable contribution to the local economy. It is fantastic that such a thriving company is homegrown and we will continue to promote an economic environment that encourages our businesses to flourish.”