IT IS one of the most successful and respected IT providers in Britain – and it was fitting that the people involved in its success were at the heart of a celebration of 30 years of Centerprise International.

The Basingstoke-based firm marked the milestone with a special party at Trunkwell Mansion House, near Reading, last Saturday evening.

Despite the large number of guests – around 500 – there was a decidedly family feel about the celebration, hosted by Centerprise International founder and chairman Rafi Razzak.

Among the guests were employees past and present, representatives of customers and suppliers, and business associates, including many from the Basingstoke business community.

Also at the celebration were members of Basingstoke Town Football Club, which Rafi has been associated with, and the key financial backer of, for more than 20 years.

Centerprise International group chief executive officer Garry Stevens said: “It’s fantastic that the company has survived 30 years.”

Noting that Centerprise is among the only two per cent of IT companies that started 30 years ago and are still in business, he told the audience: “Some of that may be luck, but a lot of it is down to hard work and fantastic people – not only our staff, but our really great customers and really great suppliers.”

Based at Hampshire International Business Park, in Chineham, Centerprise saw its initial success come from manufacturing high-quality customised desktop PCs, notebooks and servers.

Over the last decade, the company has diversified and enhanced its services to include infrastructure design, provision and installation, system integration and fully managed services, including endpoint protection.

Addressing the guests, Rafi said: “I am overwhelmed – what a night to remember.

“I consider myself a very lucky man – I have so many friends, close family, customers, partners, and most importantly of all, my Centerprise family.”

Delighted that so many people were able to attend, Rafi said: “I very much would have liked to spend lots of time with each one of you and to share with you our celebration, joy and fond memories – to say thank you for 30 glorious years.”

The dynamic businessman paid particular tribute to his wife Becky.

“She has been the inspiration and driving force behind me, and the main reason why I and Centerprise are where we are today,” said Rafi.

With a nod to the fact that Centerprise was originally called Tulips Enterprise, Becky was presented with a bouquet of 30 tulips.

Rafi told his staff: “Let us look forward to the next 30 years – maintaining our core values of success, to meet the expectation of our customers first time, every time, to provide the best of services, to be reactive, dynamic, honest, trustful, helpful and to be abreast of technology and ahead of the group.”

During the celebration evening, £6,000 was raised in a raffle to support the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity. The prize was two VIP places at the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity Field Gun event at HMS Collingwood, in Gosport, in May next year.