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MIM Systems (est 1999)

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Location - Dunston Innovation Centre, Chesterfield

MIM Systems was established in 1999 following the development of its TimePro system, a computerised workshop time management system for the retail motor trade industry.

The company also distributes traditional clocking on machines and attendance systems under the brand name on ClockRite.

Recently the company has adapted the attendance element of the TimePro software and invested in new biometric fingerprint and proximity recognition clocking on technology.

It is the introduction of this new technology to the ClockRite brand that has opened up new markets for MIM Systems (MIMS) 14 years after it was founded.

It is now on target to double annual turnover, move to larger premises and create new jobs. This explosive growth has happened in just the last six months.

Managing Director Keith Armstrong explains how, locating the company in Dunston Innovation Centre has not only provided MIMS with space to grow during this period of rapid growth, but also enabled it to access the practical support and advice provided by the Chesterfield Innovation Support Project which is based there.

How long has MIMS being based in Dunston Innovation Centre?

We moved to Dunston Innovation Centre in 2000, not long after the business was established. During our time here, we have occupied three offices, each a larger size than the last. Our latest office is 71m² and has a meeting room within it. There are larger offices in the Centre which gives me confidence that our current growth rate can easily be accommodated with minimal impact on the business.

Why did you choose to base the business there?

There were a number of reasons for choosing the Centre, primarily because it was easily accessible for staff and clients; offered business support services like meeting rooms we could rent by the hour and a telephone answering service, as well as a range of office sizes - which could accommodate future business growth.

As a business start-up a key consideration was affordable office space and Dunston Innovation Centre offered that. It's also very secure, which is very important as we hold a lot of stock. Being close to the M1 is crucial as we travel all over the UK.

How has Dunston Innovation Centre helped your business grow in recent months?

Within months of launching the biometric units we were acquiring 25 new customers a month and are now aiming for 50 per month. The TimePro workshop time management system at its peak was selling 2-3 systems a month, so the growth rate is rapid for the company.

Aside from the practical aspects of office space, the Chesterfield Innovation Support Project is based at Dunston Innovation Centre. We have benefitted tremendously from the support and advice offered through this and it has helped us to access funding to support and sustain our rapid growth since the development of the biometric systems.

How has the Innovation Support Project helped MIMS?

Paul Stuart, Manager of the Chesterfield Innovation Support Project regularly emails us with seminars and we attend e-business club courses, which are usually free for Chesterfield located businesses. We have attended a number of workshops and seminars, like Google+ and Adwords marketing which were very useful in helping us take the initial steps in developing an e-marketing programme.

Through our conversations with Paul we identified that effective internet marketing was key to achieving our growth objectives. We had neither the experience in this field or the capital to support it, so Paul put us in touch with the Business Growth Programme as he felt this would help us achieve our business objectives.

How has the Business Growth Programme helped you?

The company qualified for a Growth for Business grant which we have used to create new jobs, specifically a graduate trainee. Additionally the grant paid 40% of the costs of an online marketing specialist who has advised us and given practical help with Google Ad Words, SEO, email marketing and social media. How did you access the Business Growth Fund?

It was a very quick process. From our first enquiry through the Chesterfield Innovation Support Project, approval for the grant funding took 6- 8 weeks. We were then required to get quotes from three preferred marketing suppliers and the funding was then approved.

What are the next steps for the company's development?

With the support of the Chesterfield Innovation Support Project and the Business Growth Programme we believe we can double ClockRite sales over the next six months, using online marketing, which will create more jobs.

With the facilities offered in Dunston Innovation Centre, I know we have the practical support in the form of office space to accommodate our growth, which is very reassuring given MIMS' current rate of growth.