TWO Colne Valley businesses have teamed up with a hi-tech way to help Lord Heseltine kick-start the UK economy by liberating the regions from Westminster control.

Paul Mulcock, of Slaithwaite-based executive search and selection company Broad Oak Solutions, is working with freelance IT consultant Leon Riley, trading at Katbox, to help businesses get the most out of their computer systems.

Mr Mulcock said Lord Heseltine’s recent report into the UK economy suggested devolving power from Westminster to give local authorities the power to stimulate growth at grass roots level.

Said Mr Mulcock: “In essence, the emphasis is on every worker, every business person to optimise their performance and create healthy local economies in order to drive our national GDP and reduce the impact of the recession on the wider economy via this bottom up strategy.”

Mr Mulcock said the report had prompted him to review his own business plan and make some significant changes to move its focus towards supporting local SMEs, having assisted several of these over the last 12 months.

He also reviewed the firm’s IT systems, which he last invested in four years ago when setting up Broad Oak Solutions.

He said: “The market we serve is fast-paced, highly dependent on accurate and swift sharing of data both internally and with our clients and candidates.

“Households regularly update their mobile technology, internet speed links and HD televisions in order to benefit from advances in technology, but do the owners of SMEs do likewise?

“I don’t want to waste time and I need my business to access and share vital documents and data when my team need it – not when the outdated systems allow me to do so.”

Leon Riley worked in IT for Kirklees CouncilI before going freelance four year ago. He now has contracts with a number of local schools, reviewing systems security, installing hardware and software, providing IT training and creating mobile working solutions.

Said Mr Mulcock: “Leon looked at how we organise and share data internally and externally and within two hours we had simple-to-use kit and applications which make our four-year-old processes look archaic.

“I had no idea that technology had moved on. My nose was too close to the grindstone to question the appropriateness of the tools I was using. For a very modest spend, my business has been liberated from inefficient processes and the limitations of old software.”

He added: “Sometimes, a business owner needs a fresh pair of eyes through which to look at how things are done and using a freelance IT consultant gave me a perspective I could never have gained, without his expertise and ability to translate my needs into simple and economical solutions.”