A Blyth business venture has doubled its capacity and workforce after support from capital growth grants helped it secure two new contracts worth over £13million.
British document management company Cleardata has created more than 100 jobs in the past year, taking its workforce to 270, after £155,794 from the North of Tyne Growth Fund put it on target for its biggest deals to date with the NHS.
The business expanded into two adjoining units, leading to new employees, and modernized equipment and infrastructure in a total investment of £1.4 million.
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Cleardata chief executive David Bryce said the company had won a £3million digital mailroom contract as well as a £10.7million contract with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which runs hospitals and community services in Northumberland and North Tyneside.
With his sights set on bigger contracts, Mr. Bryce said he needed to quickly scale Cleardata to compete with bigger companies for the job.
Seeking support to offset the risk, he was introduced to the North of Tyne Growth Fund, a £4.6m investment scheme partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and backed by the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA).
He said: ‘Without the aid, it would have put the project at greater risk. There’s a lot of capital risk involved in growing your business quickly, and making sure you can invest in the right technology, while managing finances at the same time, is key. The North of Tyne Growth Fund has allowed us to take this risk with a little more confidence.
“Winning the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust contract was a significant change for the company. Local support to help land a local contract for a local business is always good news. »
The company can help businesses transform manual processes, such as sorting and validating incoming documents, both physical and digital, using intelligent software and even using a digital workforce of software robots. This can free up valuable staff time, significantly reduce overhead and increase productivity, which is essential in today’s market where many business costs are rising.
The Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust deal will see the company convert more than 1.2 million traditional paper records to digital versions over a three-year period as part of the NHS digital transformation plan.
Besides securing the contract, the investment has created many other benefits, including an improved working environment and the use of the latest technology. Cleardata has also set up a new training academy to develop talent and improve the skills of its growing workforce, and further expansion is also under consideration.
Mr Bryce said: “It took us to the next level in terms of scale. This landed us a big £3m digital mailroom deal. Because when people ask “can you handle this amount of work and upheaval and change”, and you can demonstrate that you have a project like this in the works and have employed so many people with success so quickly, it helps you win more contracts.
“The world is yours in terms of what you can do with digital transformation. We are now considering more buildings because we are growing so fast. »
“We really appreciate the support we have received from the North of Tyne Growth Fund. I think it’s important to help businesses take risks and create jobs – and in this case, we created more than we expected, by far.
Metro Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “Too often small businesses are left out of winning public sector work. It’s great to see that our funding has helped Cleardata grow and prosper and ultimately win two major contracts. This is another success story of the North of Tyne Growth Fund, which we set up to help small and medium-sized businesses in our region grow and create jobs.
Mike Baker, Senior Project Manager, North of Tyne Growth Fund, added: “The way Cleardata has approached these two projects to rapidly scale their business with new buildings and recruit 100 people in eight months is impressive. The investment has clearly paid off, and we encourage other companies with similar ambitions to contact us to see how we can support your capital investment projects. »
Neville Bearpark, Head of Grant Services at UNW LLP, said, “It’s great to see the expansion and job creation at Cleardata as a result of this significant investment. As the new contracts show, it was clearly the right decision to support this ambitious company in its attempt to meet demand.