A Lancashire-based telecommunications specialist – who began trading just 12 months ago – has acquired a wireless communications business.
Oliver Flanagan of Burnley-based Ollycom has bought specialist wireless company ObservIT for an undisclosed sum.
Former soldier, Oliver trained in telecoms engineering and worked in the field after leaving the army six years ago – he went on to launch Ollycom last March.
Ollycom design, plan, install and maintain telephone and data networks for businesses of all sizes, local government organisations and education institutions across the North West.
Since starting Ollycom, Oliver has worked closely with Aidan Venn of ObservIT, which specialises in wireless connectivity, on a number of projects. In acquiring the business Ollycom has taken on its entire customer base.
Oliver said: “I’ve worked closely with the business over the past six to eight months and as Aidan is moving on to the next chapter it made sense to take on ObservIT. I understand the business and the needs of its customers.
“The focus here is wireless connectivity – it’s about helping people find solutions where they can’t get an internet connection, for instance it might be a school where pupils can connect their devices to one central system or a caravan park which needs connectivity in all caravans but can’t achieve it through the existing infrastructure.
“The services complement the existing services I offer through Ollycom and will allow me to continue to grow the business and take on new members of staff to meet demand.”
Oliver, who has appointed an engineer and administrator since launching last year, has received support through Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub’s Growth Support Programme which helps entrepreneurs develop business plans and grow their enterprises.
The fully funded programme, delivered by Winning Pitch and Enterprise4all, provides help to develop a personal action plan, Lean Launchpad sessions outlining key principles for developing a new business and one-to-one coaching support for business owners.
Boost; Lancashire Business Growth Hub is led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Lancashire County Council, and supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Oliver said: “I wanted to do something which I would enjoy – but I didn’t realise I would get as busy as quickly as I have done.
“When I started out I just thought I’d always be a sole trader – I didn’t think it would ever be anyone other than just me. At that point I didn’t have a clue about business. It has been one hell of a journey.
“I love a challenge and this is what I wanted to do. In 10 years’ time I want to be here and helping other businesses get off the ground. My advice to them would be ‘don’t give up’.
“I don’t see other telecoms businesses as competitors, we all have different strengths and offerings and can work together.
“Boost and Winning Pitch opened my eyes to things I had never even considered before. I went on a marketing masterclass – I had never done any marketing before, I didn’t know where to start. I learnt about LinkedIn and that has become my biggest business tool, but before that I didn’t know how it worked.
“The growth masterclass helped me focus on where I wanted to be and how to get there – the support has made such a difference.”
Rona McFall, head of entrepreneurial solutions at Winning Pitch, said: “Oliver has made a huge impact to the market with his honest and problem-solving attitude towards business and helping his customers – we’re thrilled to see that our support has helped him on his path to grow and we wish him every success with the acquisition of ObservIT as he makes the step from sole trader to a limited company.”
Boost Business Lancashire has received £3.8m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help 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 https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding