Sunderland internet firm reaps benefits of European export drive

iChoose MD Richard Cattle

iChoose MD Richard Cattle

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A Sunderland e-commerce business is reaping the benefits of a Europe invasion.

Online retailer iChoose Limited is gearing up for growth by expanding into an office more than three times the size at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), after launching a continental export drive at the beginning of the year.

MD Richard Cattle and his team

MD Richard Cattle and his team

The firm has moved from its old 400 sq ft home to new 1,460 sq ft premises on the Bic site and boss Richard Cattle has plans to further expand the business in terms of both space and employee numbers.

The company has seen turnover grow to £675,000 this year and the figure is forecast to hit the one million mark within the next two years.

Established in 2012, the business sells phone, tablet and IT accessories on-line.

This is the company’s second expansion since moving to the BIC in early 2014 and its recent success has led to the appointment of six members of staff, including two apprentices.

As a new company, I needed more than just an office and the support from the BIC has been invaluable.

Richard Cattle

Managing director Richard said the decision to move to the Bic had been about more than just the accommodation available.

“I started the business from home, whilst I was still employed but soon enough I had outgrown my office in the spare bedroom and it was time to move into professional premises.”

The support services available to help the business through its early days had been a critical consideration, along with the impact on the new company’s coffers.

“The BIC’s competitive prices and its managed office space is what won it for me,” said Richard.

Donna Surtees

Donna Surtees

“As a new company, I needed more than just an office and the support from the BIC has been invaluable.”

Since January, iChoose has been exporting to Germany and France and the firm is expanding all the time.

“Although it’s hard work running my own business, it is very rewarding.

“I am proud that I have set up this business and it’s gone from strength to strength,” Richard added.

“The future of the company is positive and I hope to continue to expand and employ more staff in the future, whilst remaining at the Bic.”

Donna Surtees is senior space adviser at the North East Business and Innovation Centre: “iChoose are a perfect example of a start-up company which really hit the ground running.

“Richard’s hard work has paid off and it is fantastic that we are able to offer the business larger space when needed, right here at the BIC,” she said.