Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Bowe Digital have been providing a friendly, professional and reliable service to businesses of all sizes across the North East and throughout the UK for over 25 years. We joined the Scaleup North East programme run by RTC North in October 2018 because we were looking to explore new avenues for business growth and development. RTC North caught up with Lorraine McGill, our Operations Director, who has been working with Scaleup Partner, Craig Huntingdon, on evaluating the company’s readiness to scale, defining clear objectives and producing a scaling strategy to achieve those objectives.

Lorraine, tell us about the business and your journey so far in the time it takes to make the perfect brew!

We were founded back in 1992, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Bowe have been providing, friendly, professional and reliable services to businesses of all sizes from five workstations up to 200 users, across the North East and throughout the UK.

We originally started out offering software development and IT services. We are a Sage accredited developer and one of the first Sage Business Partners reselling and supporting the software. We have developed several of our own products most notably our Bakery Software (BaPs) which is used by Artisan Bakers up to wholesale bakeries across the UK. We offer full managed IT services including support, Office 365, cyber security and more. We are also delighted to be the only partner in the North East working with Web Expenses.

Sounds like an exciting journey so far. What are the biggest hurdles you’ve had to overcome on your way to establishing a successful business in the North East?

The business has experienced three main hurdles over the years, including:

  • Finance – the lack of support from banks, especially through the financial crisis, who were reluctant to support company growth.
  • People – a shortage of experienced people who wanted to stay in the North East.
  • Evolving Industry – staying abreast of the knowledge and changing tech in an ever-evolving industry.

What caught your attention about the Scaleup North East programme?

The call came at the perfect time, I had been brought in to help develop the Bowe Digital business, the Scaleup North East programme offered the exact support we needed to overcome the challenges we were facing.

How did the programme help you to overcome challenges and strengthen business position?

It’s still early days for us as we only got accepted onto the programme in October 2018. The programme has challenged us to look critically at our business. As a result, we have already gone through a rebrand, new website and have brought in consultants for marketing and telesales.

What advice would you give to others in the North East that are looking to scaleup their own business?

I would tell them to give it a go, I’ve already recommended it to a few of our clients who are looking to scale up!

What’s been the best business advice our Scaleup Partners have given you?

So far, I would say the advice regarding forming strategic partnerships – we are working on that as we speak!

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