Growth for health care product manufacturer means new premises, doubling capacity, and more jobs!
An Ilkeston manufacturer of health care products has expanded with a major investment in buildings and plant which will enable it to double productivity and create jobs.
Businesswoman and television personality Saira Khan, runner-up of the first series of The Apprentice, who was born in Long Eaton and went to school there, today(FRI) jointly unveiled a plaque to open new facilities for Harlequin BPI on Manners Industrial Estate with Erewash MP Maggie Throup.
Harlequin was set up in 2012 and since then has grown from 2,750 sq ft of space to 15,000 sq ft now, with new warehousing two years ago and the latest addition of 6,000 sq ft in extra buildings, meaning the company dominates Lyndal Court. Some buildings are owned and some rented.
The new additions, to the rear of the original headquarters, comprise of offices, and a recreation facility for workers, including pool table and gym equipment, as well as a non-sterile production facility and warehousing.
This £400,000 investment in building and plant will enable the company to make another three million bottles of different products a year – more than doubling capacity, which was 2.6 million bottles last year.
“We are now the UK leader in what we produce in a range of sterile and non-sterile healthcare products,” said director Ian Hopkinson.
This includes eye drops, ear drops, contact lens cleaning solutions, nasal sprays, and vapour rubs, all being sold as stores' own brands in major supermarkets from Wilko to Waitrose.
“I am delighted that we we already have a full order book for all our products next year,” said Ian.
“We are in partnership with a pharmaceutical company and are looking to export all over the world in the next year. That is why we have expanded the business now.”
He said the company was looking to increase its range to include generic versions of established brand-name products. These would have additional properties or be available at a less expensive price than consumers currently pay.
The workforce has increased from 12 to 17 this year with people being trained to use equipment. Ian hopes to boost this to 25 by the year end..
Saira told Ian: “You are a true entrepreneur, with skills, determination and drive who has brought local people into work and treating them with respect and care. What you have achieved is phenomenal.”
MP Maggie said: “It's fantastic to come to a business like this that is growing both in products and staff. We need to sing and shout about such businesses, which are putting Ilkeston on the map.”
Ian praised enterprise agency Erewash Partnership for the advice and help he received when he went to them with an idea in 2000.
Partnership chief executive Ian Viles replied: “We are pleased to have been there for you and proud of what you have achieved.”