Graduates Businesses Flourish in Derby

11 August 2009

Banks' Mill

The Business Link adviser is great - you can make an appointment each month and ask any questions you have about any aspect of your business, all for free.

Kris Williams, DE1 Design

The middle of a recession might not seem like the ideal time to start a new business but that has not stopped four University of Derby graduates setting up shop in the city.

Kris Williams, Jeunine Bray, James Knott and Adi Kerr all met while studying in Derby and after graduating decided to apply for space in the university-owned Banks' Mill Studios.

Set up to encourage former students to stay in the city, the mill is now home to 55 different business, including photographers, jewellers and animators.

Five months down the line, the quartet's two businesses, design and print company DE1 Design and video production business Studio JK:AK, are both doing well - something they believe may even have been helped by the credit crunch.

Mr Williams, of DE1 Design, said: "We help new companies create a brand for themselves. That could include creating a logo, producing business cards, designing a website - anything they need. Because we are a small business we like to think we know what small organisations want and need.

"Things are challenging at the moment and it can be hard convincing people to spend money, but at the same time there are a lot of people who have lost their jobs, have a bit of money saved up, and want to have a go at starting their own businesses."

DE1 Design has already worked with about six different companies, while Studio JK:AK has been commissioned to produce a 60-minute documentary for music label Defected Records charting its 10th anniversary parties in London, Miami, Frankfurt, Switzerland and Ibiza.

Both have been able to access help and support from the university and Business Link, which sends a representative to visit the studio each month.

Mr Williams, 24, said: "The Business Link adviser is great - you can make an appointment each month and ask any questions you have about any aspect of your business, all for free."

Working with three other people has also been beneficial, with the group able to discuss ideas and share contacts.

At the moment the two firms work separately, with Mr William and Miss Bray, 24, running DE1 Design and Mr Knott, 27, and Mr Kerr, 24, operating Studio JK:AK. But with a variety of skills between them, including marketing, design and film production, they hope to be able to work on some joint projects in the future.

Mr Williams said: "We're all creative in different ways and being based in the same studio means we can bounce ideas off each other, which is great."

To find out more, visit www.de1design.co.uk or www.jkak.co.uk

This article appeared in the Derby Telegraph on Tuesday 11 August 2009.

For further informstion, contact Annabel Harvey, Press and PR Officer on 01332 593004.

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