Since Codiance was established, it has grown into a highly-respected software company. The business is growing quickly, adding three new team members in the last month alone.
The business is entering a new growth phase thanks to their work with Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP). For Codiance, its staff, its founder and its clients, this means an exciting future ahead.
The AGP provides targeted support for ambitious businesses. The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
With bright new horizons ahead for Codiance, founder Mark Hesketh tells the story behind the business – and sets out his ambitions for the future.
Tell us about Codiance
Once upon a time, it was just me as the founder. It’s amazing what it’s now become. Today, there’s much much more to Codiance – our staff and clients are so important to our DNA as a business.
Our team has grown quickly, mainly employed at our base in Cardiff. We expect our numbers to increase further as we grow in the next six months.
So firstly, I want to share a bit about my background. I’ve worked in the tech sector, specifically software engineering, for 30 years. I started my first consulting company in my 20s, working with several European organisations. Then in 2010, I founded Smartlist – which would later become Codiance.
When Codiance launched, we decided to focus on building systems that were ‘people-centric’. This means building things that fit in to how people behave in the real world. We’ve probably all used a clunky system at work, wondering why they made it that way. Such a design probably made sense on paper, but the engineers didn’t think enough about its use in the real world. We’re all about building systems that are great to use. We put the people using them at the centre.
This approach has won us plenty of exciting contracts, expanding our customer base and helping us grow. We’ve also expanded our offering to develop our first in-house product, Codiance Higher, a content management system for universities.
We’ve worked on several high-profile projects, such as a Covid testing system for a high street pharmacy – helping it share information between pharmacies, testing centres and users.
We’re full of ideas and a can-do spirit. I’m excited about what’s around the corner for the business I established and we’re relishing the future at Codiance.
What are your proudest moments in business so far?
I still fondly remember the early stages of the business, where, as a solo-self-employed consultant, I helped a global commercial property business to build a system that would become one of the largest of its kind in the world. That was a real moment of pride for me.
What challenges have you faced in business?We’ve had to overcome plenty of barriers, particularly around access to talent, which is regularly cited as one of the biggest challenges facing the tech industry.
I’ve worked hard to make Codiance an attractive employer, with flexible working and support packages available for all staff. But there’s a shortage of skills in the sector, so finding the right team who live close enough to work in the same office once a week has been challenging.
To overcome this, we’ve moved to a coworking space in Cardiff, which has markedly impacted the number of quality applications for positions. It’s been amazing and very encouraging to see.
If you were starting again, what would you do differently?
I’d say that finding the right people to partner with at an early stage is critical, both at employee and director levels. An integral approach, for me, is ensuring that your ethos and motivations are aligned.
For me, success came through doing something I loved, so the commercial rewards followed. That compares to early in my career when I worked with purely revenue-driven individuals.
How has support from Business Wales AGP helped your business?
We are proud to be a business supported by the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme. We have benefited from access to expert coaches, who have worked with us to improve our search engine optimisation and gain ISO certification.
In particular, support with sales training has been invaluable, and the coach we worked with, Martyn Baker, is now joining the team as a non-executive director. It shows the impact Business Wales AGP support has had on our business. We’ve been able to access a wide range of expert business coaches, and now we’re in a position to embed some of that expertise into our business which is incredibly exciting.
What advice and guidance would you give other businesses starting out?
- Seek to work with people who have skills and experience that you don’t. The combination of skills and talent will help you grow faster.
- Focus on what you know and enjoy. Only then can you explore opportunities from a solid foundation.
- There has to be a result of your efforts – unless you can be profitable, it’s not sustainable.
- Think about your end goal – this can change but having an idea of where you want to be in the future will help you maintain focus.
To learn more about Codiance, visit here.
Further information on the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme
The Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme is a pan-Wales programme part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.