DEALMAKER Jo Haigh is expanding her business in West Yorkshire.
Jo, who lives in Denby Dale and is a partner at fds Corporate Finance Services, has set up a Wakefield office to complement the firm’s existing sites in Birmingham and London.
And the company is already making an impact with the local business community from its Silver Street premises with a number of transactions under way for its corporate finance team.
“We are very busy with lots of transactions, including several in Yorkshire,” said Jo.
“We are really bucking the trend. We are growing so fast that we may have to find somewhere else in the city by the summer.
“We have two people on our apprentice scheme and hope to have a third in the near future.”
Jo, who is supported by senior corporate finance manager Poonam Kaur, said she chose Wakefield as the location for the latest office because it retains a strong industrial base and has good access to motorway and rail.
“I didn’t want to be in Leeds or Bradford,” she said. “I live in Denby Dale and Poonam lives in Pontefract, so Wakefield is the ideal location.”
Jo is well-known in the business world as the author of a series of business books and as a speaker at major conferences on topics such as corporate governance and corporate finance and issues affecting women in business.
Her latest book, The Financial Times Guide to Finance for Non-financial Managers, was launched earlier this month at an event attended by 300 people in London. Jo also speaks at about 80 business events around the country each year.
An experienced dealmaker, she has bought and sold over 300 companies in the last 25 years and has held more than 40 non-executive positions in her career.
But she said: “We are not some scary corporate financiers; we have a more gentle touch!
“We deal with businesses ranging from £2m to £10m turnover, generally with owner managers looking to dispose of their business.”
The company is working on deals with a range of businesses, including a building contractor, a security services firm, an online florist, a training company and an online bingo operation.
Jo’s skills have come into their own in the current difficult climate. “Banks are not lending and we have to find creative ways to do a deal,” she said. “Vendors sometimes have to wait a little longer for their money.
“There is a sense that the economic picture is not getting any better – and may get worse – but that we can’t wait for things to improve, we have to get on with it.
“We are well-placed to help because we are well-connected with offices covering the country and the experience in areas such as wealth management, taxation and specialist insurance as well as owner-managed business.”
Said Jo: “We want to look after the owner-manager. Some 80% of GDP worldwide comes from family businesses, so you can see how vital they are to a thriving economy.”
To reinforce its presence in West Yorkshire, FDS Corporate Finance Services will stage a free seminar on buying and selling businesses from 8am to 11am on Thursday, March 22, at the Cedar Court Hotel in Wakefield.
Contact Luke at fdscfs.com. The first 10 delegates will get a free business valuation.