North West business briefs: Virtuopo; Castore; UCEN Manchester; QBS Technology; Issa Group; Rumpus PR

Virtuopo team: Jono Taberner, Chris Holmes,Paul Farrell

Liverpool-based livestreaming and virtual events company Virtuopo is relocating from Liverpool Innovation Park to Brunswick Business Centre as part of a new phase of expansion that will see the business launch a state of the art live broadcast studio, which will be connected to its new headquarters.

Designed specifically for livestreaming, virtual conferences and online business events, the high spec studio features green screen technology, broadcast quality lighting, a fixed gallery and remote production facilities, as well as a green room, dressing room and kitchen.

Virtuopo will use the studio to create live content and stream events for its growing portfolio of clients, which range from global brands and top law firms to Premier League football clubs. The fully equipped soundproof studio will also be available for corporate use with competitive rates for creative agencies, social media influencers and retailers operating in the livestream shopping space.

Managing director, Chris Holmes, who started Virtuopo during lockdown at Liverpool Innovation Park, said: “Event technology has progressed enormously in recent years, with the pandemic rapidly accelerating growth in the sector and it’s vital for us to stay ahead of the curve. Opening a dedicated virtual event and live broadcast studio is the next logical step for Virtuopo as we look to further expand the business and grow our client roster.

“As the demand for virtual events, professional livestreaming and remote production continues to rise, we’re confident a dedicated virtual event and live broadcast studio for corporate use, will be a welcome addition to the local business community and the region’s thriving creative sector.”

Virtuopo’s new virtual event and live broadcast studio is set to open late summer. The space will be primarily used for virtual events and livestreaming, although it will also be available to hire for filming TV commercials, music videos, video production, podcasts and photoshoots.


Castore, the Manchester-based sportswear brand, has designed a special edition Ashes match shirt for England ahead of their upcoming Test series with Australia, starting today (June 16) at Edgbaston, followed by the Women’s Ashes Test series on June 22.

Castore, which has created kits for English Premier League sides Wolverhampton Wanderers and Newcastle United as well as Scottish Premier League team Glasgow Rangers, said the matchwear has been designed with both comfort and style in mind.

The collection has already seen a 250% revenue increase, proving its popularity among fans. Castore says the new range commemorates the prestige of the competition by combining visually striking lines with piping details “that stop and start in disruptive ways”.

It says the kit is engineered with “laser cut holes for optimum breathability and airflow”.

The fourth of the five-Test series will be staged at Old Trafford Emirates, between July 19-23.


UCEN Manchester has launched a new degree designed specifically for professional and aspiring football players and those in player-facing support roles.

The BSc(Hons) Football Industry, in partnership with Ahead In Sport and awarding partners Sheffield Hallam University, is a three-year online degree that combines practical learning in all aspects of the football industry with core business and leadership skills. While the degree is delivered online to support learners to fulfil professional commitments, students will also have up to eight days per year of learning on site, making best use of the significant investments in UCEN Manchester sport science and coaching facilities.

Delivered via UCEN Manchester’s virtual learning environment (VLE), the programme is collaborative in design, development and delivery, working with faculty from UCEN Manchester’s School of Sport, Health and Wellbeing and Ahead in Sport, to provide an outstanding student experience in all modules and skill pathways across the overall programme. By combining their academic study and existing football commitments effectively, the course will see students develop their love of football into a sustainable and successful future career.

Mark Harris, vice dean of UCEN Manchester, said: “Guided by our expert tutors, students on this exciting new course will benefit from an innovative and blended curriculum offer, enabling learners to access an academic qualification to support their future career options within football or the wider sport industry.”

Joel Roberts, chief executive of Ahead in Sport, said: “Designed for players or those in support roles, it’s unique and innovative delivery makes this programme accessible to those seeking to combine studying with their existing football commitments on and off the pitch. Informed by research it reflects the demands of the football industry and gives learners an opportunity to develop their passion for the game into a sustainable career.”


Dave Stevinson

QBS Technology Group has completed a majority investment in Turkey-based cybersecurity platform, InfoNet, as part of its META expansion and its drive to become a $1bn business by 2030.

The latest investment is the first, but won’t be the last, of 2023, said the Alderley Edge-based business, and sees the addition of software brands including Allot, Checkpoint, EfficientIP, Firemon, ForcePoint, Ipswitch / Progress, Indeni, RSA, Trend Micro

CEO Dave Stevinson said: “Turkey has been on our radar for some time, but finding a company with the right fit was of utmost importance. With InfoNet, we have an established and successful business with a large customer network and best-in-class products, as well as a very experienced management team and exceptional strong technical competency. We look forward to supporting the InfoNet business and strategy, and welcoming our new colleagues into the QBS Technology Group.”

InfoNet’s Kemal Ciliz said: “Our business has experienced continuous growth. However, to reach the next level, we required a partner with a shared vision for the company as well as having similar values.”

InfoNet currently employs a team of 32 cybersecurity experts at its offices in Istanbul and Ankara.


Diso on sale at Harrods

Lancashire healthcare business, Issa Group, has secured a deal with the Harrods Pharmacy to stock its innovative range of vitamins.

The Preston business’s Diso-branded vitamin strips have gone on sale on the lower ground floor of the iconic London store, offering consumers a unique way to take their daily vitamins. The pioneering oral strips dissolve on the tongue to give fast, high-impact nutrition. The 10-product range includes collagen, probiotic and multi-vitamins. There are also products to promote better sleep, skin benefits and boost energy levels.

Harrods is the first physical retailer to stock Diso, with the products also available via the business’s online shop and major online retailers. Javid Patel, commercial director of Issa Group, said: “To have the product in such a prestigious, well known store so early in our journey is a fantastic achievement for all involved in developing and manufacturing the brand.

“The vitamins market is growing rapidly as more people become increasingly health and nutrition conscious, with a particular focus on boosting the immune system, following the COVID-19 pandemic. We have come up with the Diso range to enable even more people to take advantage of the benefits of vitamins. They can be taken on the go, with no water required and no swallowing required, and absorption is fast and effective.”

The global vitamins, minerals, and supplements market is expected to grow from $129bn in 2021 to $196bn by 2028, according to the Global Wellness Institute.


Rumpus PR

PR and content agency Rumpus PR has achieved B Corp Certification, with a score of 96.4. The Altrincham-based agency joins a worldwide movement to change the global economy to benefit all people, communities and the planet.

Rumpus PR’s impressive score of 96.4 aligns it with a select group of top-scoring B Corp companies committed to the movement. There are more than 6,000 B Corps around the world, with circa 1,200 based in the UK. The movement has become one of the fastest-growing communities of sustainable businesses in the world.

Beyond a certification, Rumpus PR is now part of the campaign led by B Corp awarding body, B Lab, to put pressure on the Government to amend Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006. This would make businesses legally obligated to operate in a manner that benefits the environment, communities, customers, suppliers, and employees.

Owner and director of Rumpus, Paul Evans, said: “As a business, we have a responsibility to do the right thing, not just for us and our team, but for our stakeholders, communities and the environment. We are pleased to be able to lead by example and spread the word to encourage other agencies to join this crucial movement.”

As part of its B Corp commitment, Rumpus PR has signed up for four UN Sustainable Development Goals, covering ‘good health and wellbeing’, ‘decent work and economic growth’, ‘reduced inequalities’ and ‘climate action’. This shared blueprint allows Rumpus PR to benchmark its objectives in line with businesses around the world.