James Sutherland, co-founder and director of Hessle-based ‘The Publishing Foundry’, has been selected as a ‘BT Business Champion’ for Yorkshire and the Humber.
The first Champion to be chosen in the East Riding, James was selected because of his no-nonsense approach to business and his understanding of how the innovative use of technology can help create a successful company. James joins the growing list of BT Business Champions from across the UK, who want to share what they have learnt in setting up and running their own businesses.
James said: “People start businesses for all sorts of reasons. Ours was to focus on developing and selling our Educater system, which we saw as filling a gap in the market – and that’s what we’re doing, which is working well for us. In a short time, we’ve learnt a lot, and it’s great that we’re able to share some of what we’ve learnt to help other businesses just starting out.”
The BT Business Champions’ programme is designed to celebrate successful small and medium-sized businesses across the UK and to encourage them to share advice with others. BT works with Champions to provide practical advice to other business owners – and those who are considering starting their own business – via question and answer and opinion articles in the local and business press, and online video advice. Roundtable discussions and ‘business surgeries’ are also held with business champions.
Danny Longbottom, BT Business managing director for small and medium businesses, said: “We hear a lot about how everyone can be an entrepreneur, and our Champions programme is designed to inspire people to think about whether their idea or passion can become a real business.
“We know it’s not easy to start and run a business, but it’s been made easier by the internet and the technologies it enables. By highlighting success stories like James and his team, we hope to encourage others to take that first step.”
The Publishing Foundry was also a runner-up in the BT Infinity Labs competition earlier this year. Its Educater system, designed to reduce the administrative burden on staff within schools, impressed the panel of judges.
The system was designed in close consultation with schools, offering users the flexibility to tailor the system to meet their needs, whether that’s sending out correspondence, inputting and analysing results, recording attendance or storing and accessing pupil information.
Educater was developed in-house by the team in East Yorkshire and its user support and technical help are also based there. This enables the Publishing Foundry to provide a first class customer service, but also, where required, allows queries to be escalated directly to developers so that any issues can be resolved quickly. It also means that the software can be easily updated to respond to changes in government legislation and feedback from customers.
James added: “Technology is central to our business, and at the heart of our product – and it’s only with access to these new technologies that schools can effectively use web-based services like Educater.
“We also use the internet to market ourselves, which wouldn’t have been possible even a decade ago, and has allowed us to base ourselves in Hessle.”
Other BT Business Champions include York-based chocolate entrepreneur Sophie Jewett, North East interior furnishings specialist Pins & Ribbons’, Kerrie Murray and Jorrit Jorritsma from Keswick-based outdoor and travel bag specialist Millican.
For more details about the BT Business Champions programme, or to find out how to become one, visit http://business.bt.com/business/comms/business-champions/.
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