Earlier this month iMultiply launched our business in Belfast. With our Edinburgh and Glasgow operations performing well, and firmly in growth phase, we felt it was the right time to be a start-up once again. Since we announced this latest launch in the press, I’ve been overwhelmed with the support from colleagues, contacts, friends and family. All keen to understand why Belfast was the choice and why now?
I have visited Belfast several times, it's a city of real character – packed with history, culture, fab shopping and seriously good fun. Having an office in a location you can enjoy spending time in is a real bonus although perhaps not the best reason to set up there! The business scene however has real similarities to Scotland’s, particularly when you look at the high level of ambitious, entrepreneurial companies, a market that has underpinned our success in Scotland. Early into our planning phase we learnt that business in Northern Ireland is largely relationship driven, network and trust is huge, which is an ideal fit for the iMultiply values and approach.
Northern Ireland is currently investing heavily in the business community and there’s a genuine ambition to grow the economy, making it an attractive place to be based. Brexit has the possibility of being a real opportunity to companies in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. With Dublin only a couple of hours away it may not be long before iMultiply becomes international, which is also an ambition. Of course, there is economic uncertainty hovering across the UK right now, but when is there not? An element of risk is nothing to shy away from and we're fortunate to be dealing with other entrepreneurial businesses who hold a similar view. Given the traction iMultiply has gained in Scotland, our ambition, Belfast’s business community, the economic climate and the focus Northern Ireland has on investment, makes now feel like the perfect time to grow a business there.
As ever, I’m very aware that iMultiply is only as good as its people, and to grow we need talented individuals with the right ethical values and drive. This is where serendipity and excellent timing really helped our plan. I initially connected with a competitor, Billy McCarthy, because frustratingly my contacts kept telling me how good he was! It turns out Billy had moved to Northern Ireland last year but was still in an Edinburgh based role and was now looking to set up an accountancy & finance recruitment firm in Belfast. At the same time our Head of Corporate Relations, Jamie Watts was relocating to Belfast to be closer to his wife's family. So coincidently there was a couple of highly experienced individuals who I could sense would work well together, both keen to grow and develop something from the beginning whilst being supported by and connected to the wider iMultiply team.
From the outside looking in it may seem like a well-executed plan, but the reality is I’m fortunate that things just came together.
Our team moved into their office at the Scottish Provident Building this week and have already been made to feel very welcome. They plan to blog about their experiences over the coming months and are very keen to hear from any Scottish friends of iMultiply who have operations or connections in Northern Ireland. Outside of office hours Billy and Jamie tell me they'll be spending every waking moment networking and growing the Belfast office, but I suspect they'll also enjoy being closer to their families as they both have young children.
I'd like to take this opportunity to wish Billy and Jamie the very best in their new roles. The start of a journey is full of excitement, energy, hope and a little trepidation for good measure. Although Billy and Jamie have the big responsibility of growing the Group's latest business I’d like to remind them to enjoy the journey as life is never solely about the destination.
If you have any relevant colleagues or contacts in or around Belfast you think we should be speaking to please feel free to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org We're also keen to hear about the experiences of others who are on their own start-up/growth journey.