Leadership support boosts Lancaster software firm

A fast-growing software development business has improved staff engagement and created a strategy for growth after taking part in the Lancashire Forum programme run by Lancaster University.

Lancaster-based Shadowcat Systems has grown turnover by 30 per cent since 2012 with plans to grow by a further 20 per cent in the next two years.

The company, which employs seven full-time staff and a further seven sub-contractors, is an open-source software developer and software consultancy, developing systems for clients across the UK and overseas.

Co-founder Mark Keating decided to take advantage of the Lancashire Forum programme, delivered as part of the Boost Business Lancashire service, to further develop his entrepreneurial and business leadership skills.

“The Lancashire Forum programme is refreshing and inspiring,” said Mark. “You are working with others to enable some really serious thinking about your own skills and the future direction of your business, but it’s all delivered in a fun way.

“It made me realise that as a leader, you need to make the culture, vision and values of the business the central cog. You have to be able to step away from the ‘day-to-day’ of the business to be able to truly reflect and plan for the future.”

The Lancashire Forum programme enables senior SME managers to develop their skills and knowledge by sharing experiences in an environment of trust and mutual support. A number of masterclasses featuring inspirational speakers complemented the networking sessions.

As a result of the sessions, Shadowcat Systems has already taken on new members of staff, encouraged greater staff interaction and engagement, and developed a detailed business growth plan. The business, based at White Cross Business Park, plans to take on further employees over the coming months.