There is business life after redundancy – sometimes a very fruitful life.

This month marks the third anniversary of Eric Hawthorn being made redundant by Saltaire-based electronics company Filtronic Comtek.

He was released on Friday, July 6. Three days later, he had the genesis of a new company, Radio Design Ltd, with a hand-picked team of former Filtronic electronics engineers.

The company occupies a couple of floors in a converted canal-side building in Wharf Street and leases 6,000 sq ft of space in a former Pace manufacturing factory at Salts Mill.

The business has two components: hardware services, which means repairing base station equipment from all over the world. Mr Hawthorn said there are something like five million base stations world-wide, hence the growth in this side of the business to about £2m a year and rising.

The other component of Radio Design is creating and producing custom-made filter systems for mobile phone companies seeking to cut costs by 30 or 40 per cent by sharing base station equipment.

European Union regulations now allow companies to do this, providing the element of competition remains.

Eric Hawthorn’s company is proactive in taking advantage of this new opportunity in the fiercely-competitive high-tech market.

Radio Design now has a staff of 85 in Saltaire and at its subsidiary in India, just outside New Delhi. Total turnover from both branches of the business is in the region of £9m.

Mr Hawthorn, 47, who lives in Ilkley with his family, said: “We are probably a world leader because it’s a new market for the active sharing of custom-designed products.

“Staying ahead is absolutely critical. We are actively innovating custom-made products, doing detailed analyses of the market and coming up with product concepts.

“People don’t come to us asking to design something for them. We go to them.”

Radio Design has the added advantage of not being dependent on the goodwill of banks. Capitalising the company three years ago came to about £2m – some of the small electronic machines needed cost £20,000 each.

Mr Hawthorn’s brother Doug’s Scottish company Trac International Ltd, an engineering services provider, backed Radio Design from the start.

Eric said: “It’s been a godsend, especially if you look at the economic climate over the past three years. To get funding from a bank to set up to do what we wanted to do would have been impossible. It was all risk. It’s been worthwhile, and my brother will be rewarded.”

For the foreseeable future, he’s happy for Radio Design to remain in Shipley.

“The team I started with are based around this area. Shipley is a very good place in terms of public transport.

“It is also close to Bradford and the district has a good quality labour pool for manufacturing,” he added.

Earlier this year, Radio Design Ltd won the Young Innovative Business prize in Yorkshire Forward’s Innovator 10 awards.