From humble beginnings in a back bedroom in Wythenshawe, technical production supplier business Sterling Event Group now works with blue-chip clients and the rich and famous, supplies equipment to numerous far flung countries, has out-grown three offices, employs over 30 members of staff and is turning-over millions of pounds year on year.
Sterling Event Group based in the heart of Wythenshawe, is the brain-child of Richard Bowden, 33, who is now realising his teenage vision. From modest beginnings with one hotel chain client and storing equipment in his parent’s garage, he is now supplying national and international corporates with audio and visual equipment to deliver their annual events.
“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t going to set up my own company in the AV sector, from as young as 10, I knew I wanted to do this and I was going to do everything in my power to make it a success,” said Richard.
“Then when I was 15, I turned my back on school and any further education that was being pushed by way, to pursue it properly. Albeit I was storing small amounts of equipment in my parent’s garage and I had one contract with a local hotel – but the foundations were being laid.
“I look back now and can’t help but smile, I wonder what the managers of that hotel thought, as a teenager walked in trying to get them to hire his equipment, some of which I hadn’t even purchased yet, but they thankfully did. Now, the companies I once looked up to and admired at that young age, I have superceded which is unbelievable.”
Richard left high school before taking his A Levels or contemplating university after his passion began whilst spending countless hours with his local ‘DJ’ father.
“There has always been an urge to set up my own company, I always wanted to do this. I got to see the events industry from a slightly different angle whilst being my father’s roadie as a teen – it was definitely this that spurred my passion into finally becoming a reality.”
Richard launched Sterling Event Group in 1999 out of his parent’s home, by 2002 the garage was full and he took on his first ‘paid-for’ space in Stockport.
“I can remember taking on the rental agreement in Stockport and thinking I had to make £100 before I even covered the rent. Now I pay more for the bins to be emptied here at our offices. But back then, that figure was enormous to me and drove me to find new clients and grow the business two-fold.”
Since officially launching, the business has always remained self-funded and now employs 30 members of staff whilst still residing in Wythenshawe, which its MD believes has added to its success.
“Even now there are still some negative perceptions of Wythenshawe,” concludes Richard, “but I have found it to be a remarkable place to grow a business. We have efficient transport links including the airport, we have a great tram service, the hospital is one of the best in the UK and now Wythenshawe town centre has been vastly improved – we’re a great asset to Manchester. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings for Sterling, I know one thing for sure, we will continue to grow in numbers, with a new team member starting next week!”