We love it when businesses send us their good news and here’s our latest good news round-up, kindly sponsored by PALADIN. Awards, expansion, new contracts or new appointments, if you’ve got some good news you want to share please email the editor, Martin Shaw, on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mirfield-based integrated marketing company Fishtank Agency gained B Corp™ accreditation, having met rigorous social and environmental standards representing its commitment to goals outside of shareholder profit.
The accreditation means that Fishtank Agency joins a community of 1,500 B Corps in the UK and 7,000 certified as B Corps worldwide.
The B Corp™ community in the UK represents a broad cross-section of industries and sizes. It includes well-known brands such as The Guardian, innocent, Patagonia, The Body Shop and organic food pioneers Abel & Cole.
The certification addresses a business’s operations and covers five key impact areas: governance, workers, community, environment and customers.
The certification process is rigorous, with applicants required to reach a benchmark score of over 80 while providing evidence of socially and environmentally responsible practices relating to energy supplies, waste and water use, worker compensation, diversity and corporate transparency.
As a result, Fishtank Agency will legally embed its commitment to a purpose beyond profit in its articles to complete the certification.
Alongside the B-Corp accreditation, the agency has also achieved the Great Places to Work® certification, recognising employers who create an outstanding employee experience.
Founded in 2008 by Damien Fisher, the agency employs 20 staff. Its client base includes Britvic, Berry Global, Seal For Life, HUDL, Veezu, Central Technology and Tubex, with recent projects delivered for charities, Henshaws, Boparan and Sheffield Hospitals.
Having recently graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business UK program, Damien has driven various initiatives within the agency, enabling it to achieve a 10% increase in turnover and a 20% increase in profit in the most recent financial year.
Over the next three years, the ambition is to grow the company to a £2m+ agency and increase its headcount to 30.
Commenting on the accreditations, Damien said: “Having achieved B Corp™ and the Great Places to Work® accreditation is a testament to our people, who are a key building block of our agency.
“It demonstrates commitment throughout the business to do better for our clients and colleagues, resulting in better outcomes for people, businesses and the planet.
“Intrinsic to our values, I believe these accreditations will be the foundation of the agency’s ongoing success as we embark on our ambitious growth plans in the years ahead.”
Chris Turner, executive director of B Lab UK, said: “We are delighted to welcome Fishtank to the B Corp™ community.
“This is a movement of companies committed to changing how the business operates and believes business can be a force for good. We know that Fishtank will be a fantastic addition to the community and will continue driving the conversation forward.
“Welcoming Fishtank is exciting because they can lead the way within the digital sector. We and the rest of the B Corp™ community are pleased to support Fishtank in paving the way for a new way of doing things.”
An Elland-based florist has won two awards: Florist of the Year, awarded by Yorkshire Prestige; and Wedding Florist of the Year, awarded by SME News Northern Enterprise.
The past year has seen the business, called EarthThings, grow from one to four staff, and the annual turnover has tripled. This has been achieved via a redeveloped digital strategy with better social media and online marketing, as well as offering online sales and free local delivery.
When EarthThings was purchased by current owner, Lisa Parr, in August 2022, only five weddings were booked – the team prepared the flowers for 60 weddings in 2023 and are already taking bookings as far ahead as 2025, creating everything from bridal bouquets to buttonhole flowers.
In December 2023, Lisa and her husband relocated the shop with a £170,000 investment to a prime location in the town for the business to flourish.
The growth plans don’t stop there. Lisa is also underway with an expansion to the premises to build a consultation room at the rear of the shop to offer customers privacy as they select important and sentimental flowers, as part of her efforts to expand EarthThings’ service offering.
Lisa first started working at the same florist as a Saturday girl 27 years ago, whilst dreaming of one day owning the shop.
After working for West Yorkshire Police for 17 years, and then working overseas, Lisa bought the florist in August 2022 and has since used her passion for service and quality to help increase sales, as well as boosting the online presence through social media marketing.
No stranger to winning awards, Lisa has previously received police commendations for her work in leading investigations and supporting victims of crime.
Speaking about her success, Lisa said: “This recognition is testament to the staff working at EarthThings. We are all so close knit, a little florist family! Winning the awards provides that external verification that all our hard work is paying off.
“Although we’ve faced competition from supermarkets and flower providers who we know can offer cheap alternatives, we value our family-oriented service and a more bespoke and personal offering.
“My training as a police officer, which involved dealing with people in difficult circumstances, has taught me the importance of space at times when people need to grieve. That’s why we’re building a consultation room, so that people have the privacy they need when they’re selecting flowers for specific occasions.
“Of course, our customers’ words of encouragement are always most important to us, as well as our shared love of flowers, stunning arrangements and floristry. But being crowned winners twice in the year really puts a gloss on it.”
A law firm founded in Huddersfield has marked the first anniversary of its Horsforth office and family law department.
Holden Smith, headquartered in Denby Dale, opened its Horsforth office in January 2023. The office is headed by experienced family law solicitor, Leanne Pollard.
Ms Pollard said: “Our family law team has grown significantly in the past 12 months, and we have supported more than 1,000 clients with matters including divorce and separation agreements, children matters and contested finances.
“Our Horsforth office has helped bolster and expand our services across all areas of family law and it has been a pleasure to lead the team to help deliver our ambitious growth plans.”
Co-founder and director David Bancroft said: “We launched Holden Smith with residential and commercial conveyancing services, but demand meant we grew quickly and organically, launching wills and probate and corporate and commercial departments, followed most recently by our family department last year.
“Our Horsforth office and family law team has been very well-received, and we are looking forward to further growth in 2024.”
Holden Smith employs over 100 people across its four offices in Huddersfield, Elland, Leeds and Horsforth.
Leading payments broker Accept Cards has become employee owned, with all the shares transferring to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).
The Elland-headquartered business, founded by CEO Richard Bradley in 2005, is an independent payments broker providing bespoke advice and payment solutions working alongside some of the biggest names in financial services including Handelsbanken, Metro Bank, Square, Barclaycard, Clover, Lloyds Cardnet and WorldPay.
In a transaction understood to be the first of its kind in the UK payments sector, the EOT will see the 14 employees take ownership of the firm. Staff members David Mills, Jo Kava and Sheenah Bond will become trustee directors.
Richard Bradley, CEO of Accept Cards, will remain in his position and expects to do so for at least six further years.
He said: “This is the natural next step for our business and a really exciting time in the history of Accept Cards. The business has secured continuous year-on-year growth, which has only been possible because of the hard work and dedication of everybody working here.
“Transferring to an EOT gives our team much-deserved recognition and autonomy after being pivotal to our success to date. I’m proud that we have a long established, settled team who have welcomed the opportunity to become an EOT with open arms.”
Accept Cards’ decision to become employee-owned comes seven years after the business launched a profit share scheme for its employees, enabling staff members to directly benefit from the success of the firm.
Mr Bradley added: “We’ve invested time and energy into making sure we have an amazing working culture at Accept Cards. It’s a brilliant feeling to pass on the stewardship to the team as a collective, as I know they embody our ethos of a business which prides itself on delivering the very best service while at the forefront of innovation for the payments sector.”
Advisors on the EOT transaction were Justin Smith of Kirk Newsholme and Ewan Hall of Baxendale Employee Ownership. “I’d like to thank Ewan Hall and Justin Smith for helping us every step of the way and making the process so straight-forward,” added Mr Bradley.