Teesside-based, Paul Card Recruitment, is on target for sustained growth, thanks to a £2,000 Covid-recovery grant, from Open North Foundation, which has aided recruitment and stimulated a strong marketing push.

Established in 2013 and based at Wynyard, the firm specialises in recruitment across a wide variety of roles in the accountancy and finance sectors.

A member of the Recruitment & Employment Federation, Paul Card Recruitment represents high profile clients such as Pacifica Group and Able UK and a growing list of high growth entrepreneurial SMEs.

The company was growing prior to the pandemic and on the day that it moved into larger offices at Wynyard Business Park, a national lockdown was announced. The company had to wait a full year until they could use the new offices.

Owner, Paul Card, who is a member of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals and Chartered Institute of Credit Managers, said: “We were very excited at the prospect of relocating to a bigger office and, just as we received the keys, the country went into full lockdown. Almost immediately, our business was impacted and clients put their recruitment plans on hold.”

“The business was financially sound, so we made the decision to keep everyone at work and not take up the Job Retention Scheme. We also had ambitious plans to step up our marketing and to invest in an improved CRM system and we wanted to continue with this. Given that we did not take up furlough, it was still important that we looked to support the company by investigating other forms of grand aid that could be available to us and that is when we became aware of the fantastic work Open North Foundation was undertaking to raise funds for small businesses like our own and we applied for funding.”

Open North Foundation was established in July 2020 and is a direct response from the business community in the North East to provide financial and in-kind support to small businesses in the region directly hit by the pandemic. It relies on the generosity of companies and organisations to provide donations and has a structure of a board of directors, ambassadors and supporters, all of whom provide their services free of charge.

Paul added: “The funding application we put forward was scrutinised by the Directors of the Open North Foundation and I would like to think they were impressed that although the pandemic had hurt, we remained very positive with ambitious plans, including the hire of a marketing executive via Sunderland University. The £2,000 was a great boost to us and was an important lever in our decision to hire the marketing executive.”

Richard Swart, chair of Open North Foundation, said: “Many small companies have been badly affected by the pandemic and some, for reasons totally out of their own control, will have gone under. Others have cut costs and battled on in the hope that they have survived the worst of the storm. Then, there are those that have decided to innovate, develop alternative revenue streams and drive forward with new marketing strategies. Paul Card Recruitment falls very much into the latter category. We were very impressed by the firm’s positive approach to the pandemic and its determination to keep growing despite the challenges ahead. Open North Foundation was very pleased to make grant the business £2,000 and we look forward to hearing great things about its growth in the years ahead.”