Retail disruptor firm BizzleIt is set to move into the FastForward incubator space, having been gifted a lease there by entrepreneur Lawrence Jones MBE.
BizzleIt, led by Manchester businessmen Jordan Ryan Madeley and Michael Lawes, creates online platforms for businesses to share offers, products and services with consumer groups. Clients include SPAR, for whom they produced the SPAR GO app and loyalty platform.
Jordan said: “We’ve seen some great successes this year with the likes of SPAR, some new big-name brands coming on board and an ever-increasing sales pipeline. With that in mind, we’ve looked at office spaces but, while we invest heavily in our product, we simply couldn’t afford them at this stage.
“While many spaces in Manchester are described as incubator spaces, in fact they still have landlords charging significant rents. On top of that, we’ve seen spaces where the atmosphere isn’t what a growing tech firm needs – they just tell you what you can’t do all the time or they chase you out of the door at 7pm.”
Meeting for a mentoring session with UKFast CEO Lawrence Jones MBE, the BizzleIt team were offered a free one-year lease in the FastForward space.
Jordan added: “We had our hearts set on Tech Manchester, when it officially opens, because we’ve been hearing about it and watching the space and the community develop. We knew it was going to be the space for us but it was always going to be some time before we could afford even its low rates, so this is offer from Lawrence is just amazing for us.”
The pair had previously been operating from home or even at a local Wetherspoon pub, making the most of the chain’s £1 coffees. But as they look to grow their team, the FastForward tenancy includes use of all the necessary facilities, including a phone-answering service, high-speed connectivity and all on-campus amenities including recording studios and a health-food café.
Lawrence Jones MBE said: “I’ve known the guys behind BizzleIt for some time and whole-heartedly support the entrepreneurialism and innovation that they’re driving. So, as we celebrated Tech Manchester’s one-year anniversary, I wanted to give back to the community.
“Offering the BizzleIt team a space, away from the pub they spending their days in, shows that they’re a serious proposition that’s ready for their next stage of growth. I am incredibly proud to give them this opportunity and watch them flourish.”
Director of Tech Manchester, Patricia Keating, said: “It’s been a remarkable first year for Tech Manchester, we’ve signed up more than 100 mentors and now have our first three companies moving into the FastForward space, before we’ve even officially launched!
“I am looking forward to getting to know the BizzleIt team and for Tech Manchester to support what is no doubt going to be an incredible journey from here.”