Straumann’s new beginning

Straumann recently opened the doors to its new, multi-functional and highly impressive UK base. Dentistry took up its invite. . .

Straumann celebrated the grand opening of its new UK headquarters and the ITI UK Education Centre in style earlier this month.

Guests were invited to a special evening at the venue where presentations were interspersed with servings of champagne, canapés and a buffet supper. As well as the official speakers, entrepreneur Simon Woodroffe, founder of the Yo! Sushi empire and former panel member of the hit television show Dragon’s Den, shared the secrets of his success in an enigmatic presentation to round the evening off.

The swish three-storey premises, located just outside Gatwick, signifies the company’s intent to increase its impact in the UK implant market.

The ground floor houses the offices for Straumann’s various departments including customer services, marketing and accounts, with 170 employees currently based there. The first floor is dedicated to the ITI Education Centre. The incorporation of this training facility was key to Straumann’s decision to relocate its UK headquarters, and the final result is one of the most impressive venues in UK dentistry. The building is fully air conditioned and houses a lecture theatre, a practical room for hands-on teaching and a syndicate room for a more intimate atmosphere.

All rooms boast cutting edge audio/visual equipment and create a modern, comfortable environment designed to promote a positive learning experience. Outside the study rooms there are spacious breakout areas for delegates to relax in, as well as a café. The third floor is yet to be occupied but, in line with the company’s plans for growth, Straumann expects to be filling it within five years. The premises is now the primary location for Straumann events including courses, conferences, seminars, product launches and roadshows.

Andy Molnar, Straumann’s general manager, said: ‘This is a very important milestone in the life of both Straumann and the ITI. We are really proud of where we are now.’

Wolfgang Becker, the company’s European vice-president, added: ‘I have seen the development of this building over the years and, from what I see now, I’m extremely proud. It provides us with a base for the future and illustrates a clear commitment from Straumann to the UK market.’

He went on to explain that the worldwide implant market grew by 17% in the first half of 2006. Europe accounted for 50-55% of that market, but the UK is so far lagging behind countries such as Italy, Switzerland and Sweden, so there was huge potential. In Italy, for example, an average of 120 people per 10,000 inhabitants undergoes implant surgery. In the UK , that figure is only 10 per 10,000.

Becker added that the current implant success rate is 97%, meaning there are 140,000 failed implants every year throughout the world. With this in mind, and the fact that the number of implants placed is expected to double in the next five years, he said the market needs more surgically active professionals, so the ITI centre will grow accordingly.

‘Our vision is to shape the future of patient care,’ he added. ‘Striking the balance between academic independence and commercial interests is vital.’

Stephen Barter, chairman of the UK & Ireland ITI Section, reiterated the ITI’s growing standing in those countries, revealing that its membership numbers had increased from 41 to 103 in the last 12 months, while two more fellows had been named, bringing the total to 13.

He announced that 167 training courses will be available at the centre in 2007, with 2180 delegates anticipated to walk through the doors. ‘This is a huge benefit to us, to have presentation facilities of this quality,’ he said. ‘But this is only the beginning. For one thing, we will be looking to increase the number of fellows during the next year.’

Other targets include increasing the number of study clubs held in the UK and Ireland, to boost ongoing research by clinicians and the representation of UK speakers at ITI international events.

To finish off the evening, special guest Simon Woodroffe spoke about his spectacular rise to success in the business world. The entrepreneur and motivational speaker described how he initially struggled to scramble together enough money to start his Yo! Sushi chain of restaurants.

The Japanese fast food outlets provide fresh, seasonal and affordable sushi to customers on conveyer belts. The brand has been mooted as the new Virgin.

Woodroffe, a former winner of the London Entrepreneur of the Year and Group Restaurateur of the Year awards, said: ‘One of the most important things I learnt was how not to be a perfectionist. I’m now a very good compromiser. If you’re a perfectionist you think unless it goes your way it’s going to go wrong.’

He added: ‘One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is over-planning. If you make too many plans you don’t see the cherries on the tree as they come along. The more you analyse something, the less likely you’re going to do it.’

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