Northcott Global Solutions has been shortlisted for the Vonage Nexmo Business Enabler of the Year, a Lloyds Bank National Business Award category that recognizes value beyond products. This week, we caught up with the company’s CEO, Edward Jones.
Could you start by giving us a quick rundown of NGS?
NGS has saved literally thousands of lives from a child’s appendicitis to the results of terrorist attacks, from the Arab Spring to the London attacks, from the evacuation of $100m oil rigs in war zones to the return of a little girl’s teddy bear, the company stands alone in its field.
The company was launched to revolutionise the International Emergency Response industry and bring it up to date with modern travel patterns. The basic repatriation model of medical patients from one first world country to another was failing to keep pace with traveller needs either geographically or numerically. Very simply, people were having problems in places that needed more than a doctor on a plane in a week or two to sort out.
NGS employed ex-Army, Navy, Police, Police despatch, Air traffic controllers, Medics, and Technicians, put them into a state-of-the-art, 24/7, military style Operations Centre and put them to work looking at every country in the world through a prism of potential client emergencies – foreign invasion, civil unrest, medical emergency, basic medical, kidnap & ransom, extortion, business continuity, logistical support, cyber, legal, diplomatic and more.
The company then built and maintains a vast network of local & regional providers including medical, aviation, security, land transport, maritime, armed response, safe houses, logistics, legal, cyber, diplomatic, cash transit, tracking, travel management capabilities and more in order to meet their client’s individual needs around the world.
NGS is not matched for either geographical reach or speed – current records include: 3 clients extracted during a terrorist attack from the roof of the Radisson Blu Hotel, Bamako, Mali in 17 minutes; the release of a kidnap victim in northern Pakistan in 40 minutes, the safe pick up of a mugging victim in Abuja, Nigeria in 15 minutes and countless minor medical issues answered immediately.
NGS stands alone, so you never do.
Talk us through the business’s journey so far.
Launched in 2010, the company has grown 50% year-on-year. Starting with 6 employees, NGS now has over 50 full time people in the UK with offices both in the City of London and Mayfair. In 2012, the company acquired a tracking & travel management arm which, when integrated to the original international response capability saw NGS revolutionise the ‘Assistance’ industry.
What has been the greatest challenge faced so far as a new business?
The main issue has been breaking into very well-established industries. Every security company claims to do emergency response and on the insurance side relationships between insurers and assistance companies were often decades old.
What has been your biggest achievement?
Winning International Assistance of the Year 2017 was a tangible highlight, but the growing dominance of the UK insurance market is more meaningful from a commercial point of view.
What is your company’s mission?
To offer a new generation of international emergency assistance & business enablement, globally.
What was it about the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards that made you want to apply?
They are one of, if not the biggest, most prestigious awards out there.
What attracted you to the Vonage Nexmo Business Enabler of the Year category in particular?
Enabling our clients to do business is the core of what we do.
Do you think that being shortlisted has boosted your exposure or credentials?
Yes, but winning would be really big for us!
Has there been a particular book, talk or video that has helped you to thrive in your business career?
The concept behind NGS is revolutionary within our industry so operationally, I’d say, no. The concept formed as a result of my being employed, at one time or another to do the various constituent parts – underwriter, broker, soldier, assistance provider. It was this combination that highlighted the failings in the industry and how the different parts could fit better together.
What advice would you give to young business-minded professionals?
Learn a language and if you are going to launch a business listen to the person that tells you it will take twice as long, and cost twice as much than you think it will!
What does ambition mean to you?
Ambition means dominating the market we are in. Arguably many already recognise NGS as the best in class but we have a long way to go.
How do you deal with failure?
Adapt and overcome.
How do you keep your team motivated?
We are fortunate in that we have a lot of ex-military Warrant Officers who are the best man managers in the world.
What growth plans do you have in place?
To continue to grow at the rate we have in terms of the day-to-day business. The Remote Logistics side of the business is showing signs of dramatic and spectacular growth too. The Tech side is also looking very strong in terms of the ideas we have there.
The Security side is growing at 100%+ a year and both falls out the other business lines and reinforces them. It’s the integration of our services that is the largest contributing factor to our current 100% client renewal rate in 2018.