Business books the trend with the Growth Hub

When Paul Sykes and his partners bought out Oxfordshire-based Business Careware in 1984, their vision for the company was radically different to the previous owners’.

Rather than outsource software development for the firm, which helps clients manage meeting space and event bookings, to India, he had a different idea entirely. “Our business plan was to relocate and focus on using UK resource to position ourselves for growth both here and internationally”, Paul explains.

“As a team, we had positive past experience of working with a local business support service in Rotherham – so when it came to deciding where to base Business Careware, we knew we could benefit greatly from being there.”

That service was the Rotherham Investment and Development Office (RiDO), a partner of the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub Enhancement Project, which is financed by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

Fast forward to today and not only is Business Careware trading successfully from Dinnington, but it has just hired a strategic consultant as a permanent employee – after first working with him thanks to advice they received from the Enhancement Project.

“A while back, I got in touch with RiDO and explained that we were keen to grow”, Paul says.

“Our Key Account Manager, Andrew Klinkenberg, undertook an evaluation of our current position and where we wanted to be, and one of the things he recommended was that we bring in a consultant; an outsider who could objectively develop a strategy for us moving forward.”

The idea came to fruition and the consultant’s services impressed Paul and colleagues so much that he was ultimately offered a position at Business Careware to continue driving its further growth.

“I knew RiDO would be able to help us”, says Paul.

“What was a nice surprise, though, was just how effective the support was – so much so that we ended up hiring the consultant for ourselves!”

Business Careware is now hoping to expand into the US market with new contracts and relationships, all the while developing its booking software from right here in South Yorkshire.

And as Paul says: “It’s a far cry from sending work to another continent – that’s for sure!”

The Enhancement Project provides businesses with intensive one-to-one support from a Key Account Manager and access to free Masterclasses delivered by private sector experts.

The Sheffield City Region Growth Hub Enhancement Project is receiving up to £2.7m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit