Norfolk Business Awards: Netmatters takes home two awards

Men with trophies

Netmatters founders Chris (l) and James Gulliver with their two awards - Credit: Netmatters

Wymondham-based full-service digital agency Netmatters were big winners at the 2020 Norfolk Business Awards, taking top honours in two categories: Investing in Future Growth, sponsored by Lovell; and Skills of Tomorrow, sponsored by Norwich Research Park. 

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Norwich Research Park sponsors Skills of Tomorrow - Credit: Archant

“Winning Skills of Tomorrow really was the crowning achievement of 2020 for our Scion Scheme,” says managing director James Gulliver. This is an intensive in-house programme for aspiring software designers.

“I think there are two key factors that helped us succeed – the scheme itself and the team that run it. The scheme originates from a place of utility, but it has grown to mean something a lot more to a lot of people. It is designed in such a way as to remove barriers to success for people who, in many cases have never had that experience,” Mr Gulliver explains.  

“The team who manage the scheme work hard to ensure its continued success,” he adds. “The central management team - Kayleigh, Frank and Tessa - ensure that every Scion has the experience they need to achieve everything they want." 

People at a computer screen

Netmatters Lydia Whitney and Henry Hardwell. The firm's Scion scheme of intensive training is bringing on the next generation of software developers - Credit: Netmatters

Mr Gulliver says the reaction from customers and suppliers to Netmatters winning the awards was hugely positive. “The team are thrilled to have been recognised for their hard work,” he adds. “In particular because more recognition means we can get in front of more businesses and potential candidates, to continue the success and further roll out of the scheme.” 

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Lovell sponsor Investing in Future Growth - Credit: Archant

As well as the Skills of Tomorrow award, Netmatters secured the Investing in Future Skills award – a real achievement in a year when many businesses were drawing in their horns. “Having a strong plan that included investment in infrastructure, resource and marketing was central to our success in 2020,” says Mr Gulliver.  

“By investing early in the resources needed to move to remote working we were able to maintain 'business as usual' as much as possible. Continued investment in marketing also allowed us to see growth at the end of a difficult year. Our investment plan allowed us to continue taking on Scions, maintain good staffing levels and end the year in the best position possible,” he concludes. 

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The secret to a good investment strategy, Mr Gulliver says, is having the data available centrally and in real time. "Everything that we do here is based on data," he explains. “Our own business-management system allows us to put in place time and efficiency saving processes, freeing up our staff time to focus on the work that we need to help build growth. With this clarity of data, we are able to determine exactly what needs to be done in any area to grow the business.” 

Netmatters plans to continue growing through 2021, while focusing on staff welfare and working towards being carbon-neutral by the end of the year. It also plans to extend the reach of the Scion scheme beyond Norfolk and Suffolk – and if plans go well, the firm will be entering the awards again.  

“Applying for the awards was a powerful exercise for us as a team," says Mr Gulliver. “It’s hard to find the time sometimes to reflect so much on the positives as a business. Taking a beat and reflecting on everything that we have achieved was a useful and positive exercise." 

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