James Howard set up payment services provider Yorkshire Payments Ltd as a two-man business in a small office in Halifax.
Today it employs 27 full-time staff and offers a variety of secure digital payment options for a client base of more than 4,500 businesses from offices at Thornhill Brigg Mills in Brighouse. It also aims to increase staff numbers to 35 by the end of the year.
The business has seen an increase in brand awareness as the only independent payment provider in Yorkshire and has won a number of awards.
As well as leading a rewarded team, James is keen to support apprenticeships and foster links to local schools by offering work experience for students at two local high schools. The business has successfully trained a number of apprentices, one of whom is now undertaking management training to fulfil her role of administration manager.
James is also a keen supporter of good causes. During the past 12 months, he has increased his support for homelessness charity Simon on the Streets – with the whole team volunteering to sleep out to raise funds for the charity. The firm has also raised money for the Brighouse Flood Appeal to help other local businesses hit by flooding.
In line with the firm’s growth plans, James aims to work with other well-regarded brands in the region. To date they have included Holiday Inn, Yorkshire Crisps, Bronte Water, Huddersfield Town FC and the Shay Stadium at Halifax.
James said Yorkshire Payments – competing mainly against big corproate banks – had broken the mould to offer a high standard of customer service while genuinely caring about its customers.
Katie Mallinson – a self-confessed “word nerd” – set up Scriba PR in 2013 with seven years’ industry experience and a business management degree.
The agency, based at Heritage Exchange in Lindley, focuses on providing communications support for technical and business-to-business companies.
Katie said: “Throughout the past three years, we’ve worked with many successful, forward-thinking and sometimes pioneering companies – but the very nature of these businesses means that have can have a ‘complex’ story to tell. It’s Scriba’s job to translate ‘techy’ briefs into powerful, meaningful conversation. We tell the story to the people that matter – clients’ target audiences – using language they can connect with.”
During the past 12 months – and off the back of winning the Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Award last spring – Katie was named Chartered Institute of Public Relations Outstanding Young Communicator at the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire PRide Award and was shortlisted in the national finals of the CIPR Excellence Awards.
She has presented workshops and seminars on a voluntary basis to help young people who aspire to be successful entrepreneurs and has launched Scriba’s website. She also helped Thrombosis UK raise more than £1,000 via a social media campaign and has supported work placement students and showcased the potential of a career in PR.
Katie said: “Although we’re ‘just’ a team of three, we have systems in place to ensure we work like a big agency. Each team member has clearly defined roles and career development opportunities which makes the business scalable in the long term.
“But our small team ensures client satisfaction. We have weekly catch-ups to debrief on how clients’ activities are progressing. That means our clients know that they an pick up the phone and chat through any new ideas even if their dedicated account manager isn’t available. That’s just one of the reasons that we’ve grown entirely through word-of-mouth recommendations.”
Simon Iwaniszak has built a video game development company that has quickly built up an enviable reputation in the industry.
He launched Red Kite Games in 2012 aged 27 with an initial team of three developers. Now the company, which is based at the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre in Huddersfield, has more than 15 employees and has developed award-winning video games for a variety of different platform holders, studios and publishers in the UK and overseas as well as releasing its own video games worldwide.
Simon has assembled a team which includes personnel who have been instrumental in producing some of the biggest titles of the past 20 years for the likes of Rockstar, Activision, Sony, EA, Codemasters and Sumo Digital.
He said: “I have managed to build a team who have a vast experience and skill set, working in crucial roles on award-winning titles such as Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption.
“Red Kite Games continues to work on big IP and multi-million dollar franchises and has helped to deliver seven different video games over the past 12 months.
“In collaboration with GameDigits, a fellow Yorkshire video games studio, we successfully released Dream Machine on IOS, Android and Windows.
“The video game received critical reviews of four stars and above.”
Simon said the company continued to provide opportunities for young graduates, offering full-time employment with three new hires who graduated from the University of Huddersfield. During term time, Simon gives the university half a day of his time each week to work with staff and students.
Simon said the company also prioritised staff welfare to ensure a healthy work-life balance by operating flexi-time, encouraging staff to keep fit.
He added: “I’ve managed to grow Red Kite Games to the biggest video games developer in Huddersfield and we continue to expand.”