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Financial backing leads to expansion

On the move: A Sheffield-based environmental consultancy is expanding following an investment by Finance Yorkshire, and pictured are Finance Yorkshire investment director Paul Gower, Ecus chairman Dr Peter Skipworth, commercial director Erica Kemp,  Ecus managing director Nick Birkinshaw and financial director Paul Pattison.

On the move: A Sheffield-based environmental consultancy is expanding following an investment by Finance Yorkshire, and pictured are Finance Yorkshire investment director Paul Gower, Ecus chairman Dr Peter Skipworth, commercial director Erica Kemp, Ecus managing director Nick Birkinshaw and financial director Paul Pattison.

A SHEFFIELD-based environmental consultancy is expanding nationwide with financial backing from Finance Yorkshire.

Ecus – which started out in 1986 as the environmental consultancy of the University of Sheffield – recently opened a new office in the Cotswold town of Cheltenham Spa.

Now it is planning to double staff numbers and set up more new regional offices.

The expansion follows on from management changes at the university spin-out, which saw local entrepreneur Dr Peter Skipworth become chairman and a number of changes in the management team, including the promotion of Nick Birkinshaw to managing director.

Nick Birkinshaw said: “Although Ecus already operates at a national level from Sheffield – for both private and public sector clients – Finance Yorkshire’s investment will enable us to open up to five other regional offices over the next five years.

“We also want to increase numbers of our local workforce and are aiming to double them. This in turn will ensure we can offer a high calibre and broad range of services across the country.

“In five years, we have a projected turnover of £5 million. Once we take on additional staff and open more offices, we can develop more disciplines, grow the margins – and therefore grow the business considerably.”

Finance Yorkshire investment director Paul Gower said he had been particularly impressed with Ecus’s commerciality, ambition and commitment, which saw all of the management team investing, alongside Finance Yorkshire, which has taken an equity stake in the Meadowhall-based business

“They are looking to the future, not the immediate present, and investing so the company is better positioned to benefit from a return of growth,” said Mr Gower.

Ecus currently employs more than 20 staff and has a turnover of £1.5 million.

The latest expansion follows the organisation’s successful diversification into growing markets, including wind energy, expansion of its public sector business and the development of its Environmental Impact Assessment services. Blue chip customers include store groups such as ASDA, developers like Ben Bailey Homes, Henry Boot, Lovells and Taylor Wimpey, local councils, utilities businesses like NationalGrid Transco and Yorkshire Water, Government departments like DEFRA and the Highways Agency and conservation organisations like the National Trust, Natural England and the RSPB.

 

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