je2 Case Study – Incubation and Growth at Maylands Business Centre

Company: John Ellison Electronics Limited –
Key Industry: Design & Manufacture
Key Sector: 
Environmental Technology



John Ellison Electronics Limited (je2) design and manufacture instrumentation for the Enviro-Tech sector. The company are an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and a professionally registered, fully accredited British Engineering company.

After a career of working in Engineering all over the world, je2 was established in 1994 when Managing Director John Ellison started contracting for the Royal Opera House. Many other contracted works followed for a wide range of industries such as: Pharmaceutical, Petro-chemical, Utilities, Public Transport, Military, Aerospace, Construction, Sound & Broadcast and Nuclear.

The Challenge

John Ellison wished to have his own design and manufacturing workshop and in 2010 started designing products with a local machine selling company called Inagas Limited. This collaboration effort had great potential. Not only for je2 and Inagas but for the common good as the proposed products were to be for the Enviro-Tech sector – gas filling instrumentation for the Insulated Glass industry. These insulated glass units reduce a building’s heat loss and therefore lower the fuel usage. All qualities that help the world move forward towards a more sustainable low carbon economy. The only problem was je2 had no commercial premises – only a 3 bed semi-detached.

As designs moved through the approvals stage into pre-production and then into full production it became essential to get the business out of the house. Already, one of the bedrooms was the office, another was storage and the garage was design, manufacture and test. The dining room was final assembly and stores. The kitchen was packing – after the cooking and washing up had been done. Despite the economic climate still in recession the market remained resilient and orders were coming in fast.

The company simply had to move out and instructed commercial estate agents to search for suitable start-up premises. However it soon became apparent there simply wasn’t anything within the budget available for the start-up company. The step-up in costs and outlay was enormous and the situation seemed hopeless.

The Solution

Already well aware of the lack of affordable light industrial units, Dacorum Borough Council had secured land and funding to build the Maylands Business Centre. Just about to open in 2011, je2 were one of the first businesses to rent one of the smaller 700sq ft start-up units on the site, vitally at an affordable rate. Perfect for their needs, they were able to move straight in, and were soon in a position to thrive and scale up design and manufacture. With business booming, another member of staff came aboard straight from school and it soon became apparent this start-up unit was getting too small and je2 moved up to one of the larger 1,000sq ft units on site, taking on another school leaver along the way.

The Result

During their time at the Maylands Business Centre, je2 has developed 13 machine variants which are sold into 30 countries on six continents worldwide. They have produced hundreds of machines and most of what is manufactured goes to export. Combined, these machines are filling up to 500,000 insulated glass units across the globe every week contributing to saving our planet millions of pounds in fuel usage per annum.

Over this time je2 have employed five school leavers and offered work experience. They were successfully awarded prize funding from the Dacorum’s Den initiative to complete a further machine design (their most complicated and sophisticated yet) which has gone into full production and is selling well. As means of thanks for the faith shown in their business, je2 is now one of the sponsors for the Dacorum’s Den competition – giving something back. As well as members and committed supporters of the Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors program, they also support the Green Triangle which comprises Rothamsted Research, University of Hertfordshire and Building Research Establishment.

Quote from John Ellison: “It’s a simple fact that the Maylands Business Centre has been the catalyst for our business growth and wellbeing. Having a good business idea is one thing but without the right platform in place to take it to the next level makes the task virtually impossible. As such, we are strong advocates of this type of facility to be rolled out to encourage this area’s entrepreneurial spirit.

“It’s clear the public sector is essential to help the private sector and vice-versa. As far as je2 is concerned Dacorum Borough Council (DBC) has shown great foresight in creating the right environment for growth. Indeed, it is our hope the 25 year Enviro-Tech development plan with the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and DBC continues this effort and encourages more companies with technical innovation and people with original thought to come into the area and make Hemel Hempstead their base of activities.

“I’m in full agreement that Hemel Hempstead is a place where you can do business.”

To learn more on this extraordinary journey of John’s, please click on the following link: HHBA – je2 case study.

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