Sound Leisure, a family business most famous for the hand-crafted jukeboxes it has manufactured at its Leeds factory for over 40 years, has secured £5,000 of digital technology funding. The award will part-finance a super-size specialist printer enabling the firm to bring production of large-scale artwork – a vital feature of its iconic jukebox designs – in house.
Currently outsourcing the large-format printed elements of its jukeboxes, Sound Leisure has been awarded the funding from the Government-backed Digital Enterprise programme, which helps businesses in the Leeds City Region to upgrade their digital technology.
The cash will enable the business to invest in a pioneering £20,000 large-format printer, recently launched in the UK. With a growing demand for its range of bespoke, custom-made jukeboxes, the firm says the highly specialised equipment will enable it to improve its efficiency and diversify its range to allow it to expand into new markets.
“The new large-format printer will be a game changer for us. We currently have to buy in all the printed elements of our products but if quality issues occur this can cause time-consuming delays which have a massive knock-on effect with our production schedule,” said Sound Leisure director Mike Black.
“Having the capability to design and reproduce all our own artwork in house will finally give us full control of the production process, guaranteeing consistently superb quality and significantly speeding everything up. Our Digital Enterprise funding is a catalyst that will open up all sorts of possibilities for new product lines, as well as for our one-off customised classic jukeboxes, which are becoming incredibly popular.”
The £5m turnover business, which employs 80 people at its Leeds production facility and a further five staff in Nottingham, has more recently been commissioned to design and produce a variety of bespoke jukeboxes for high profile clients. They include a limited edition Sergeant Pepper’s vinyl jukebox for Apple Music to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the release of the album, and a model styled on the Norton Commando motorcycle.
The business also designs and produces a range of innovative audio products, including children’s play areas and ‘TouchPost’ interactive audio installations used at National Trust sites across the country.
Muz Mumtaz, who heads the Digital Enterprise programme, said: “Everyone loves jukeboxes and it is fantastic that this successful business is crafting these timeless but extremely high-tech products in Leeds, and exporting them worldwide.
“Digital Enterprise is designed to help businesses like Sound Leisure take important steps that will enable them to grow by boosting their digital technology. We’re really excited to have been able to help Mike and the team secure the funding for this innovative piece of kit.”
Digital Enterprise is backed by the UK Government and the ERDF. Since 2016 that initiative has helped over 1,400 businesses to boost their digital technology, providing £3.6m of grants for £6.8m of match-funded projects and a wealth of educational opportunities to help firms improve their digital knowledge.
Digital Enterprise 2.0 is set to launch this month, delivering more funding in the form of vouchers, as well training and practical assistance, aimed at boosting the city region’s digital competitiveness. For more information, and to register your interest and check your eligibility for the programme, go to the Digital Enterprise website.