Local centre celebrates three decades in business
Local businesses gathered yesterday (Wednesday, 13 February) to celebrate the 30th birthday of the Weltech Business Centre.
Now home to 49 different organisations employing around 170 staff, the centre first opened in February 1989 to provide local businesses with flexible, resourced office space.
One of the first businesses to set up home at Weltech in 1991 was electrical solutions company Plowright Hinton. A family-owned business, the day-to-day running is now in the hands of sisters Joanna Bennett and Julia Rollinson, following dad David's retirement.
"When we arrived here there were only three other occupiers and our business really built up alongside the Weltech as other new people arrived. At the time, the centre offered full office and secretarial services and even a telex machine - exactly what a start-up company needed - although I don't think many people would know what that is nowadays!" says David.
"We now employ nearly 20 people and Weltech offers all the services for today's market that we require. With my daughters now running the business, I like knowing they're in a safe, supportive environment, especially if they're ever working alone late - there's always someone here they can call on."
At the other end of the scale, First 4 Safety - an online health and safety training company - has just moved to Weltech after being a virtual customer for a couple of years.
"Being a virtual customer gave us a professional business address, which was really crucial when we were first starting out" said director John Pillinger. "But we just loved the atmosphere here and wanted to be part of a community of businesses who, like us, are small and looking to grow."
The council has managed the Weltech Business Centre since 2007 and a 30th anniversary plaque was unveiled by the Mayor of Welwyn Hatfield, Cllr Barbara Fitzsimon and Leader of the Council, Cllr Tony Kingsbury.
Cllr Duncan Bell, Executive Member for Resources, said: "It was fantastic to meet the many and varied businesses that call Weltech home. From speaking with people today, I'd certainly say the centre is 30 years young! We know businesses need more of this type of flexible space, which is why we've invested in Beaconsfield Court to hopefully replicate Weltech's success in Hatfield."
Based on Ridgeway in Welwyn Garden City, The Weltech Business Centre provides everything a young business needs when first starting out, including broadband, reception and postal services and meeting rooms. There is ample car parking and even a coffee lounge for relaxing away from the office. For more information visit: www.weltech.org.uk or call 01707 336969.