Inside one of Harrogate’s largest office buildings, Windsor House, there are many success stories of businesses who are growing rapidly despite the challenges faced throughout the pandemic.
In this article, we explore five businesses which are contributing to the town’s economy and seeing great success in their respective industries…
1. ANGELA SWIFT DEVELOPMENTS
Angela Swift Developments specialises in the development of care homes, building residential care homes for the elderly. The team moved offices to Windsor House back in 2016. “We source land for development and then look at the viability and design to build a purpose-built care home,” says founder Angela Swift.
“During the pandemic we managed to retain all our staff. We worked hard throughout this time, managing virtual approvals with councils, and continuing with our build programme.
“We found more opportunities because of Covid. The pandemic demonstrated the level of need that exists for our builds and what we do in the care sector – which is creating five-star, state of the art care homes, as well as our expertise in creating specialist areas to protect residents and staff.”
Angela Swift Developments is currently working on Fairfax Manor, a new £15m 90-bed facility in Harrogate on Wetherby Road, expected to be completed in 2023. Work is also ongoing in other locations in Carlisle, Pudsey, Barnsley, Yarm, St Helens and more.
2. BLUEWAVE SELECT
Specialist IT recruitment business bluewaveSELECT focuses on placing SAP experts in technology companies. Seven years ago, the business began as a start-up in a loft. Bluewave now resides in its third office inside Windsor House, having expanded its space each time. Bluewave’s company director believes the move to Windsor House has helped open up more opportunities, describing the offices as a ‘growth enabler’.
Turnover had increased to from £500k in year one to £18m today and the team has grown to 22, recently adding offices in New York and Munich. Bluewave plans to add 16 more people to its team by 2024 and expand to more overseas locations – with the business already placing SAP professionals across almost every continent.
Vincent Dunlop, co-founder and director, said: “In lockdown, the business chose not to make redundancies and not to use furlough – we kept all our people. Although in the first half of 2020 revenue dropped by half, it soon bounced back and 2021 was our best ever year. Staff retention was the secret to our growth.”
“We employ local people in Harrogate; even if they have no experience, we will train and invest in them. Our mantra is to ‘trust the process’, which means if you do the right things every day then you can’t fail.”
3. WILD & CO CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS
Wild & Co Chartered Accountants is a family firm that launched in 2009 and has gone from strength to strength, thanks to the uniquely proactive support it offers to businesses of all sizes. Since Covid, the size of the team has doubled, as has the office space the firm occupies in Windsor House.
Founder Liz Wild, who runs the business with her husband Graham, says: “During Covid we really pulled together with our clients to get them through the tough times, proactively applying for grants and helping to process furlough claims, often for no extra charge.
“Graham and I live and work in Harrogate and we feel passionate about growing and investing locally. We have worked hard to build our business in Harrogate, with Windsor House as our base for the past five years, and we are delighted that our positive approach has seen us double our turnover since the start of lockdown.”
4. THE NOTARY SOLUTION
Ten years ago, Katherine Beckett incorporated The Notary Solution Limited, a specialised law firm that deals with legal documents to be used abroad.
Katherine Beckett, Founder of The Notary Solution, said: “During the pandemic we had to keep working because businesses required notaries. Company directors could not travel so they had to sign documents in the UK and have them notarised and attested.
“To find a notary you usually have to look locally. However, we have always innovated and used technology to allow us to operate our services in multiple locations. This has given our business the edge over other providers and enabled our growth. We have a team of notaries that operate throughout the UK that we manage from our head office at Windsor House.”
5. EVOLVE PSYCHOLOGY SERVICES
Evolve Psychology Services was founded in 2014 and has continually grown over the years, winning Independent Business of the Year at the 2022 Yorkshire Choice Awards.
“We offer evidence-based psychological and neurodevelopmental services, and have a team of Clinical and Forensic Psychologists, as well as a wider team of Allied Health Professionals” says Dr Laura Powling, company founder and Consultant Clinical Psychologist.
“Covid hugely impacted upon NHS waiting lists, and so we have been proud to work alongside the NHS to address the waiting times as an approved NHS provider - offering high quality neurodevelopmental (autism and ADHD) assessments to clients and families. Over the pandemic we have also seen an increase in referrals for mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions.”
In the future Laura plans to co-author a book with a colleague on the practice of clinical/forensic psychology within the context of human trafficking and modern slavery, as well as looking to expand the business’s range of services in a number of different directions.