The directors of Elvet Recruitment, Michael Dufferwiel and Stephen Phillips enlisted the support of Durham Ambitious Business Start-ups (DABS) to help provide a solid foundation to launch Elvet Recruitment. Little did they expect that a year on from the birth of their business, they would have a team of five and be moving to their third office.
Durham Ambitious Business Start-ups (DABS) is an ERDF and Northern Powerhouse funded programme that helps high-quality start-ups in County Durham start trading and offers premium quality support to those who have started up in business in the last 12 months.
While Michael acknowledges the risks and fears of starting up in a pandemic, he explains that they were confident in the construction industry’s ability to recover quickly and in their recruitment experience. But he and Stephen had never run a business, so they wanted to further develop as leaders and ensure they anticipated and planned for as many challenges as possible.
“What Stephen and I valued most was the support and the learning tools we were given,” Michael says. “It wasn’t always the most revolutionary things that actually helped us – it was the basic questions that got us thinking about what we wanted to be as a company and an employer. DABS helped us identify our company values, which has really helped shape our messaging and define the kind of people we want to work here in future.”
Setting up a new business is a busy time, and it can be difficult to know where to start, so the directors were grateful for their DABS adviser’s communication throughout.
“The support from DABS was quick and responsive,” Michael explains. “They put our minds at rest, giving reassurance and guidance, which can sometimes be lacking on other programmes like this. Any phone calls were backed up with emails, so it made it easy for us to reply, and they supported us through the whole process.”
Amid a third office move to accommodate Elvet’s unprecedented growth, Michael again turned to DABS for support, which has helped the company with funding towards its fifth employee.
“That financial support has allowed us to grow and serve more of the construction industry. There has been a real shortage of skilled people in the industry and good consultants are key to creating solutions to help bridge that gap,” Michael continues.
“It is a fantastic feeling to be able to create new jobs internally. We have employed some great people here and we want to continue growing. Not just established people either – we are keen to help train and develop our own people.”
Building Elvet Recruitment into a business that people strive to work for is what spurred the directors to start their own company and what will drive their future growth.
Michael says: “We believe in the growth of people and growth through people – whether that’s someone who is able to develop in their current role, or an organisation who can give you the platform and environment to succeed and progress.”
“That is not only our message to the outside world, but also something we will aim to practice internally too. We want to create a positive culture and environment where people are supported and thrive, and where they are well-rewarded for doing so and can progress their career.”
Growing through people will be the key to Elvet’s success as the company plans for national growth. Michael and Stephen are excited to see if the company can over-achieve again this year.
The director says: “Our ambition has always been to grow.
“We currently serve the North East and Yorkshire predominantly, but there is a lot of work in other regions where we feel that we could add a lot of value. It comes down to recruiting more people who share our values. We’re hoping by the end of this year we might have another two to five employees.”
Elvet Recruitment has charted a clear path to growth and is in a great position to achieve it.
Michael concludes: “Starting a business can be scary, but it’s great. There’s a lot of challenges you don’t always expect, but we couldn’t have asked for a better response to us setting up. A lot of people are supporting us, wanting to work with us, and people want to come and work for us, so it’s been really humbling.”
DABS is an ERDF-funded programme that helps high-quality start-ups in County Durham start trading and offers premium quality support during those critical first 12 months in business. There are two support packages available – one for pre-start businesses with a great idea and the other for early-stage businesses. The programme is delivered by Business Durham, with support from delivery partners TEDCO, UMi and Candle Digital.