Tech genius benefits from Young Entrepreneur Scheme at Citibase Horsham29/09/2014
Whilst the majority of his classmates set off for university, Nick Freeman bucked the trend by heading straight into the world of work, establishing his own business. Having studied computing, IT and business at college, due to an inner passion for all things technology, the natural path was to set up a company in this field…
Based at Citibase Horsham business centre, Freeman PC Services is an IT company specialising in providing IT services to private clients and small to medium sized corporate clients in and around Sussex and Surrey. As Nick sums up, “Freeman PC Services is essentially your ‘one stop shop’ for everything IT.”
An entrepreneur from the age of eleven, when he started his own gardening company, selling produce grown at home to teachers at his school, Nick has always had a strong business mind-set, making him a perfect candidate for Citibase’s Young Entrepreneur Scheme (YES).
Set up by Citibase, YES is open to all 18 to 24 year olds throughout the UK, providing budding entrepreneurs with a workstation, including internet access, and use of Citibase’s communal facilities such as meeting rooms, completely free of charge for a whole year. This enables start-ups to get their business off the ground.
Having just celebrated its third birthday, Freeman PC Services began life in June 2011 as a ‘bedroom business’. Initially focused on providing affordable IT support for residents in the surrounding area, Nick soon realised the potential to expand for local businesses. Nick says: “We fill a void for small businesses that are big enough to have an IT infrastructure but not quite large enough to fund a dedicated IT team.”
As the company grew in success, Nick was introduced to Citibase and decided to apply for the Young Entrepreneur Scheme (YES). Following his successful application, Nick was provided with full use of Citibase Horsham business centre’s meeting rooms, internet and telephone systems, manned reception team, 24-7 access, as well as the ability to hot desk when necessary, for a whole year, all completely free.
Nick comments: “It opened my eyes to what was on offer for start-ups like me. It was really refreshing to have a separate space to work, as opposed to being cooped up in my bedroom, and it was also a real novelty to have a professional business address with a corporate facility to meet with prospective new business contacts. That alone made a real difference to how I could grow the company.”
Citibase Horsham is situated in the centre of town within a short walk of the train station, which made it convenient for getting to clients in the area. The business centre offers light, air-conditioned and fully-serviced office suites on flexible terms and in a range of sizes.
When his year with YES drew to a close, Nick decided to stay on, sitting down with the Citibase Horsham team to devise a unique package for his needs. “It’s only me and one other in the company so I needed something to fit my size and budget and was really impressed with the flexibility of the team. They listened to my requirements and tailored everything accordingly.”
Nick also benefited from the convenience of a fully serviced reception, something which he has found invaluable: “The nature of my business means that I am often out and about visiting clients so having the team at reception to act on my behalf is vital should a client pop in or a parcel be delivered.
“Another thing that has been of real value has been the opportunity to interact with the diverse range of businesses on the premises, such as a PR consultancy and a bookkeeper, to name just a few. It’s been interesting to hear about their experiences, picking up some hints and tips along the way. There is a lot to think about when running a business and this has allowed me to expand my skill-set.”
Nick concludes: “Citibase has allowed me to function as if I am a larger business despite being a relatively small outfit. Saying that, I’m really chuffed with how Freeman PC Services has performed so far and can only hope that it continues to expand.”
At Citibase, Nick can focus on his business, safe in the knowledge that his working space can grow with him, as Freeman PC Services continues to prosper over the coming years.
Steve Jude, CEO, Citibase, comments: “It is part of our ethos to support and incubate young start-ups, demonstrated by our Young Entrepreneur Scheme, and I’m really glad that Nick has prospered from this. It is clear that the world of work has changed forever with over 90 per cent of respondents to a recent survey conducted by Citibase stating that they would only agree to sign tenancy terms between six months and three years.
“SME’s like Nick no longer want to tie themselves in to long leases, which is why we feel that it is only right to offer flexible contracts, allowing these fresh, new businesses the opportunity to develop their company at their own rate.”