Story in Sentinel newspaper from Howle Communications copy: Leek cosmetics packaging company Collcap expands into new premises

THE sweet smell of success is in the air at cosmetics and perfume packaging company Collcap after it secured a grant to support its growth plans.

The Leek business is expanding into new premises with the help of the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce Jobs and Growth Fund, backed by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF).

Collcap, which produces packaging for a host of high street brands such as Boots, has seen business grow and turnover double over the last five years.

But further expansion has been hindered because workers are currently based across two sites in Cheddleton and Leekbrook.

A lack of facilities and space has meant the business is restricted when showcasing Collcap products to buyers from cosmetics companies.

Now work is set to start on the refurbishment of a business unit on the Leekbrook Industrial Estate to provide new office space, a technical suite and conferencing facilities.

General manager Neil Kinson said: “The RGF grant of more than £70,000 is helping Collcap to provide the facilities we need to provide a better environment for our staff and facilities to help us work smarter.

“An open-plan office will provide a high quality work environment for our 35 Leek-based staff, and we are planning IT and conferencing facilities and a technical room where we can showcase new advances in equipment and processes.

“The company has a “local first” philosophy which comes directly from our managing director John McDermott. All our Leek-based staff live locally and virtually every company we use on the building project will be Staffordshire-based.”

The highly successful Jobs and Growth Fund targets job creation within Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. More than £3 million has so far been approved in projects which are forecast to create more than 900 jobs.

Matt Hustwit, Jobs and Growth Fund programme manager, urged businesses to apply to the fund and make use of the full allocation of Government money.

He said: “The project is on course to meet our target of creating 900 jobs by the end of the current financial year.

“Firms have until the end of the year to apply for the current funding round, and there is still time for companies who are looking to create jobs to make an application.”

Applications are assessed by the chambers of commerce before going forward to the Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership board for approval.

It is expected the scheme will be expanded after a second bid for a further £4 million was accepted under round five of the RGF scheme earlier this year.

Collcap employs about 35 people in the UK, and also has a base in Hong Kong and representation in China and Taiwan.

Around 25 staff are expected to move from Basford Lane Industrial Estate, Cheddleton, to the new premises in early 2015, and there will be room for growth, with plans to employ more staff following a 40 per cent expansion in the last four years.

Mr Kinson added: “The application process for the Jobs and Growth Fund is relatively simple and there is excellent guidance available from the chambers of commerce.

“When I talk to other business people, I now tell them that they should apply.”