by Mark Cowgill, Co-Founder & Director of Exa Networks

When I co-founded Exa Networks back in 2003 we had 8 members of staff and no clients. Fast forward to today and we are a Bradford City Centre based Internet Service Provider and Software Development House, employing 50 people, primarily serving the education and business sectors.

I’m a proud Bradfordian and it gives me great pleasure to be involved in bringing high quality, cutting-edge jobs to Bradford through Exa Networks. Our offices are in the city centre, only a five-minute walk away from great shops, bars and restaurants. At Exa Networks we’ve worked very hard to build our current success and intend to grow and develop alongside the city.

However, Bradford’s transport links across the Pennines are currently not as good as they need to be and this is undoubtedly having an impact on business growth. Bradford remains the largest city in the UK not on a mainline rail connection, which is incredibly frustrating for us as its pulling against our forward momentum and business growth and preventing us and other businesses to help grow Bradford’s local economy and support more jobs and inward investment.

I support Next Stop Bradford as I want to help improve transport connectivity across Bradford and the north. Having faster trains to Leeds and Manchester would help my company reach new clients and attract more people into our city.

We sometimes struggle to recruit staff as it is difficult to persuade people to commute from Manchester and Leeds due to unnecessarily long journey times, despite their close proximity. A Northern Powerhouse Rail station in Bradford city centre would help to resolve this problem and ultimately make the area a much more attractive workplace.

Since 2009 our business has grown by about 20% every year. The proposals to improve transport infrastructure in this city would help open up our business to more clients in more cities, resulting in further increased growth, as I’m sure it would for many other local businesses.