THE Software Centre in Sunderland has a new tenant.
The £9million centre attracted criticism in February when the Echo revealed it was home to just one business.
Built on the site of the Tavistock car park, the development was intended to help boost the growth of the software sector in Wearside and across the North East.
It was designed to house up to 60 hi-tech companies, but was only home to sole trader Keith Wallace and his business TTMG Internet.
Since then, new businesses have moved in, including Convergent Knowledge, which specialises in the development of business intelligence systems.
The latest arrival is Orcuma, which works with clients to create bespoke customer management software.
Co-founder Paul Mitchell said: “We searched the North East for a suitable location in which our business can grow and it soon became apparent how plugged in to software Sunderland is. The whole ethos and impression of the Software Centre was exactly what we were looking for and it offered the most flexibility in terms of being able to upscale into additional offices when business growth requires.”
Paul and co-founder Richard Whittaker are setting their sights on the international market – in particular the United States – and plan to take their software skills overseas to win new business.
They hope to recruit up to two more full-time staff members by the end of the year.
“America is a huge market for this type of software and it’s a great opportunity to take our bespoke software skills further afield and showcase what we have to offer here in Sunderland,” said Paul.
City council leader Paul Watson said: “As a council, we spotted an opportunity some time ago to tap into the growing technology market and make that a staple part of the Sunderland economy.
“We had a vision to create one of the most innovative technology clusters in the country, attracting big business and ambitious entrepreneurs to locate here.
“It’s great to see companies such as Orcuma choosing the Software Centre as a place to build their foundation.”