18 th Jul Investing In The South West
Above image: Sarah and Jonathan Trethowan, co-founders of The Regulatory Affairs Consultancy (TRAC)
Pause for Thought…
It’s emotional and complex when you make the decision to leave full time employment and start up your own company. You might agonise how the mortgage will be paid if your customers have cash flow procedures in place that mean late payments for your new company. Or perhaps you question just how much you really know about employment law as you look ahead towards recruiting a team for your new business. So with the South West more of a hub then ever for start-up companies and science parks, is it any wonder why so many new businesses are calling the South West their home?
One business who does call the South West home is Cornwall based company The Regulatory Affairs Consultancy (TRAC). Sarah and Jonathan Trethowan, are this month celebrating 15 years in business; in the South West. You might not expect a consultancy who help pharmaceutical companies and clinical researchers navigate the regulatory maze of licensing medicines; to be based in Cornwall; but here they are 15 years on. Director, Sarah explains the choices they made in the early days of TRAC:
“…We had two choices where to base our new company. Firstly, we could establish ourselves where those already experienced in our sector tended to be based, so London. A lifestyle we had experienced for several years and one which lacked quality of life we were looking for now we had our first child. Or we could choose to locate the business in a place where the existing workforce would share our values of a good work/life balance; but that didn’t necessarily have the experience we required. So for us to succeed being based in Cornwall, we understood that we would need to develop and implement of a robust training and induction programme at the very core of our business strategy…”
For TRAC, this approach along with developing a relationship with the industry’s professional body, TOPRA; has helped create a high number of knowledge based jobs with the company currently employing 22, full time, highly specialised employees. Developing an internal technical training programme, delivered by the now more experienced TRAC team, means training overheads are lower than industry averages and new employees become proficient quicker. Initially TRAC primarily recruited science graduates who were already living in the area or wanted to be. In the past 5 years they have seen this change and now receive CVs from around the world from people who want to work for TRAC because of the reputation they have built within the industry.
Sarah explains: “…when you get the right balance of people, doing the work they enjoy, in a location they love, you have the ingredients for business success…”
Having just celebrated their fifth employee to achieve the ten year milestone at TRAC, staff retention for TRAC is excellent at 90% last year and 46% over the lifetime of the business. Coupled with an office wellness programme, a healthy and happy workforce can see as much as a 70% reduction in absenteeism from sickness and stress, resulting in a more productive company. Where annual sickness levels for the private sector were 6.8 days per employee in 2015, at TRAC comparative annual sickness levels were 1.6 days; delivering direct benefits to clients in terms of the consistency of service.
In a connected and online world; outsourcing services to the best company now rarely factors in distance or travel with the same weighting as years gone by – great news for the South West! For companies seeking services that provide good value for money over the cheapest offering; they are just as likely to find a suitable match in companies based in the South West as they would those based in London or New York.
So when thinking about where to invest and locate your business; think beyond transport connectivity to London. Instead; consider the advantages of positioning yourself in an area where there is a creative hub of businesses, science parks and access to a healthy and productive work force that share your values.