encompass travelled 10,000 miles to discover Scotland as the perfect business location to help make its software business go global. And double buggy access came in pretty handy too.
Incredible things in life often happen in twos. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, they transform into something even more rewarding: a brilliant work life balance. Take Australian businesswoman, Alex Ford, for example: not only has she transformed her Sydney-founded business, she also juggles this with raising twin boys. And Scotland has made it all happen.
Meet encompass, the tech business that develops software that enables lawyers, accountants, bankers and other regulated organisations to comply with Anti Money Laundering (AML) regulation. Its software automates the collection of Know Your Customer (KYC) data for KYC or AML purposes.
The result? The time taken to gather data and perform related tasks reduces massively from hours or days to minutes for on-boarding clients. Alex, the entrepreneur, says:
“Building the business in Glasgow has been a really wonderful fit. The city has many similarities with Sydney. The people here are easy-going, always up for a laugh, are non-deferential, and never over-value their airs and graces.”
With a headcount of around 80 people globally, encompass has grown rapidly over seven years, branching out from its first Sydney office, where its development and sales and operation staff are. The business now has offices in London, and a presence in Hong Kong and Singapore. And now it's pointing its compass to even wider global expansion.
Scotland provided the best of all worlds to establish this international business, including its excellent quality of life. Living in Glasgow’s Merchant City, the Ford family spend a typical weekend within a 5km radius of where they live, visiting local cafés and the shops. They are able to enjoy all the same pastimes they did in Sydney, albeit Australia had 'slightly warmer' weather, smiles Alex.
Life in Scotland is divided into two camps: before and after the twins, although going to the pub still features in both! Before having the boys, Alex and her husband, Adam, headed off to different European destinations whenever they could. Coming from Australia, the prospect of flying just two hours and being in another country is really exciting, she says, and is something Alex wanted to take advantage of while in her new home.
When encompass looked to setup in the UK, Manchester or Northern Ireland were also considered as locations for a headquarters, but a major factor in sealing the deal was Scottish Enterprise. The business support agency helped it connect with recruiters, enabling the firm to find local talent. The key benefit of this? encompass was mightily impressed with the Scottish professionals it found for its engineering and software development team.
So what other reasons were there for laying down roots here?
“The other major factor for choosing Scotland as a business location was because of its proximity to London. We could get there easily by jumping on the train or a plane and be back and forth quickly. Again, the tech skills here played a huge part with brilliant well-qualified graduates coming out of Scottish universities.”
When encompass expanded its footprint from Glasgow, it required a variety of skillsets. Its core team centres around an engineering and software development team, including QA and testing, alongside front end skills.
Building the best team is also reflected at home with Alex and Adam forming their own duo of mini me’s.
“When I asked my husband about moving to Scotland in 2015 I had a little convincing to do. He’d never been to Glasgow or to Scotland before, but he took the leap of faith, and I think he’s been delighted with the journey we’ve taken. Our two boys, Fred and Charlie, who are toddlers, were born here and I think you’d be surprised by how many places a double buggy fits into in Glasgow.”
And, like a double buggy, Scotland enables travel and opportunity to exciting places. Now more than ever as a place to invest, live and work. Alex and her terrific tech firm are a testament to this.