Many small firms are drawn to Captured because they need help to redefine their strategy and put their business on the right course. But Yvonne Gale, CEO of NEL Fund Managers, discovered she was doing just fine when she signed up to the scheme.
She explained: “I was matched with Mike Mullaney, a finance expert from Lloyds Bank, and he generally agreed that our business was going in the right direction. What I needed was some fresh inspiration on the delivery side of things.
“We talked at length about how to make things happen even more efficiently, how to stretch resources to cover a particular job and how best to communicate our offering through social media, Skype and video conferencing, for example.
“It broadened my thinking on the various ways we could allocate resources and communicate with people.”
Communication is vital to a business such as NEL, which provides funding to help ambitious SMEs grow and develop. Since the company was founded in 1989 it has managed 15 funds with a combined value of more than £90m. These funds have been used to strengthen the local economy by financing at least 750 business plans, creating or safeguarding thousands of jobs and attracting millions of pounds of additional private investment to the North East.
Yvonne, who heads up a team of experienced fund managers, has worked at NEL for more than ten years in varying roles and was appointed chief executive in 2015. She heard about Captured at a regional manufacturing forum and wanted to explore how NEL would benefit from working with Newcastle University Business School.
After an initial meeting at the business school, in which aims and ambitions were scoped out, Yvonne was matched with Mike Mullaney and the working relationship blossomed from there. As well as helping Yvonne to consider different ways of delivering projects and allocating resources, Mike also encouraged her to explore the potential benefits of regular interaction with the education sector.
Yvonne said: “We’ve taken students on placement before but usually on a very ad-hoc basis. Now I see the value of having a student with us on a more regular basis.
“Also, previously we’ve tended to ask students to conduct research on a predominantly strategic level. Mike has encouraged me to direct their research more towards delivery so they’re focusing on how we should do things rather than why we should do things.
“I’m a firm advocate of any scheme that makes my business better through acquisition of vital knowledge – and that’s what Captured has managed to achieve. I’d recommend the scheme to other ambitious companies that are seeking ways of growing their business.”
For further information on NEL Fund Managers, visit http://www.nel.co.uk/ or call 0345 369 7007.