How Combined Authorities Use BeauhurstImpact to Support the Local Business Ecosystem


‘Beauhurst gives us business intelligence to do due diligence on companies and better understand their journey and financial position—it’s a vital tool in many ways.’

York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority are a council with a 30-year devolution deal for its region, with an investment fund of over £500 million. Different teams across the council use BeauhurstImpact to support their local business ecosystem. 

Government Administration

Northallerton, North Yorkshire


The Challenge

We spoke to several members of the team at the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority, or YNYCA (previously LEP and Growth Hub), to discover what initially led them to the BeauhurstImpact platform. 

Simon Middleton, Growth Hub Manager, described how they had no data on the business ecosystem in their region, which made it very difficult to identify companies for their business support programs.

Simon : ‘Our job is all about improving businesses in the York and North Yorkshire region, helping them get funding or grants to innovate. A huge part of that is identifying which businesses fit those criteria.

‘However, there was no investment in any intelligence around business stock in our region. So, we literally had no signups for anything. Coming from the private sector, where you have access to such things, it was a shock to realise that we didn’t have any tools to help us.

‘Beauhurst has grown quite a bit since we first started using the platform, but at the time, there were probably two main platforms in the market, FAME and Beauhurst. We looked at both systems, as I’d used FAME in the past. We had trials with both, and right from the start, I thought that Beauhurst was a lot more intuitive to use. We felt it was a bit fresher. That ticks the boxes for me, because the easier the tool is, the more likely your team is to actually use it.

'Beauhurst is intuitive to use.'

‘The Account Management at the time was also much more open to listening and changing the package to match what we wanted. That’s what stood out to methat Beauhurst was constantly looking to evolve and improve the offering. That’s ultimately why we decided to go with Beauhurst.’ 

The Solution

The YNYCA initially used the Beauhurst platform to identify businesses that fit specific criteria in their region, allowing the authority to target specific local companies and understand their journeys.

Simon: ‘In the beginning, we used Beauhurst to get to know our local business ecosystemwho was running businesses in the area, how firms were changing, who was scaling up, etc. Ultimately, that’s who we kept our eyes open for, as they ticked all the boxes for the programmes we had to offer. 

‘When we were a Growth Hub, it was all about connecting with businesses and letting them know what resources we had to help them do interesting things. Beauhurst was a really useful tool for that. If we didn’t find businesses to support and spend that money, then we’d never see it again, so it was really important for us to identify these companies and make the most of the funding.’

Today, the authority uses Beauhurst in multiple ways. They track their current account list to stay updated on any changes, use keywords to track news stories and investments, and even proactively target businesses from other regions to attract them to North Yorkshire.

Simon: ‘The teams have split, so the old Growth Hub team still uses the platform in the same way, but my team have really embraced Beauhurst. We’re a team of eight focused on trade investments and trying to target and attract better employers to move to our region. 

‘We also deal with the retention of existing foreign-owned businesses and UK firms. So, if a business of a considerable size is in our region, we want to make them feel welcome and let them know that we can help them when they need business support. That’s the kind of thing we’re using Beauhurst for now. 

‘For the key account management side of the business, Beauhurst has been absolutely vital. We load our current account list into the platform and we track it for any changes, so we know when there have been any major personnel changes, news stories, or big investments. 

‘We track different keywords of interest, so now, we can proactively search for businesses in certain sectors and poach them from other regions, if we think we can offer better value to them as a region.

'With Beauhurst, we can proactively search for businesses in certain sectors and poach them from other regions.'

‘Ultimately, Beauhurst gives us business intelligence to do due diligence on companies and better understand their journey and financial positionit’s a vital tool in many ways.’ 

Simon explained how the LEP change to a Combined Authority will shift how some members of their team use Beauhurst. For example, gathering information to put together tenders or proposals for innovation funds.

Simon: ‘I think the Trade and Investment team will start to use Beauhurst differently. We’ve got some managers for specific sectors, so they’ll use the platform to help with that. The team are mobilising clusters of people in the region for specific sectors and going after money, trying to get innovation funds, and so on. So, Beauhurst can play a part in that when we’re doing tenders and putting proposals together. I think we’ll only get smarter with it.’

To understand how different departments use Beauhurst, we also spoke to Mark Bates, Sector Relationship Development Manager for Manufacturing, and Alistair Forbes, Key Account Manager.

Mark: ‘Beauhurst has enabled us as a LEP (now a Combined Authority) to get the most accurate picture that we’ve ever had of what manufacturing is and means for our region. The scale of it, the areas that we specialise in, the number of companies, the size of them, and the number of jobs those businesses provide our citizens. 

‘That’s where the platform has come into its own for me and my rolebeing able to give us that overall picture of the sector and put monetary values to it. Because of Beauhurst, we now know what the overall economic value of manufacturing is to our region. 

‘What I’ve been able to do is then break that data down by creating Collections of the various industries that sit under the manufacturing sector. For example, our region falls into four main areas: food and drink production, bus and transport innovation, engineering, and manufacturing materials. 

‘We figured out these were our four main areas in our region from looking at Beauhurst data, which has informed my role. Now, we’ll use that data to our advantage to attract new business into our area. It’s collecting all the data for our region, capturing key businesses, and using that data in a strategic and intelligent way. 

‘Beauhurst gives that ability to check under the bonnet of manufacturing businesses in our region to make sure everything is as it should be.’ 

Alistair: ‘For my role, I use Beauhurst to identify the key foreign-owned employers in our region and prospecting them to work together. There are a couple of businesses that I’ve identified so far that I’ve started to work with since I came into the role. 

‘With Beauhurst, I’ve been able to do some of that due diligence in terms of identifying what that business does, the scale of it, who the parent companies are, etc., to prepare for prospecting them. I use the platform to identify the businesses and their contact details and names, check them out on LinkedIn, and get a clearer picture of them as a business. 

‘I use Beauhurst every day. It’s invaluable and saves me weeks worth of manual work. Beauhurst accelerates the way in which you’re able to find the right contacts and establish how a company is trading. That’s quite a key thing.’

‘I use Beauhurst every day. It’s invaluable and saves me weeks worth of manual work.'

Account Management and Client Experience support at Beauhurst

We asked Simon about the support his team has received from Beauhurst.

Simon: ‘The one thing that has made us stay with Beauhurst and never look around for other data providers is the continual support we receive. It’s proactive, so you don’t have to chase it, which really helps us to make the most out of our investment in the platform.

'The one thing that has made us stay with Beauhurst and never look around for other data providers is the continual support we receive.'

‘Ruth, who does the training, has constantly had to retrain people as we’ve moved licenses around. She always gets straight back to us and has trained everyone on different teams, so that they can develop and start to use it more independently. That, to me, is one of the most powerful things you’re doing. It really is about building that relationship and delivering on what you’ve said you’re going to dothat’s something I’ve always had from Beauhurst.

‘We don’t get that kind of support from other suppliers. We’ve even decided to end the relationship with one supplier recently because we continually asked for support and never got it. We’ve never had that problem with Beauhurst.’ 

The Results

Simon emphasised how Beauhurst has been a time-saving tool that allows them to work smarter

Simon: ‘Beauhurst is a smart time-saving business intelligence system. It means you can work smart. That time-saving means you can have your finger on the pulse of your region and your business stock, and know what’s happening without having to put hours and hours of work into it. Not every system is like that. Many systems have the information, but you almost need to be a data analyst to extract it. Beauhurst isn’t like that at all.’

Mark explained how he uses Beauhurst to quickly create reports in minutes, that would otherwise take weeks of manual work. He also shared a specific example of how he used Beauhurst data to support a business case for an overseas investor. 

Mark: ‘Around June last year, I started using the platform to run reports and get a snapshot to see if there’s any movement in some of those top numbers, which I plan to run every six months. It literally takes minutes to run the report. 

‘Without Beauhurst, I’d probably still be trying to collate the data now, to be honest. We would have to go into each and every company website, and then search Companies House to manually take note of things like turnover, staff count, etc. With Beauhurst, we’ve saved masses of time.

‘Beauhurst has also been able to help us when we’re targeting overseas investors to set up in York and North Yorkshire. When we get inquiries from organisations overseas, some of the questions they’re asking us arewhat’s the supply chain like? How many businesses are doing this? 

‘There was an example recently where we had an overseas baked goods company. Their specific question was about the supply chain for ingredients in our part of the world. We used the Beauhurst platform’s search functions and parameters to quickly draw up a quite significant list of companies that could potentially supply their company, should they choose to set up in York and North Yorkshire. The speed at which that information can be obtained makes all the difference.’

Alistair described how Beauhurst has saved him weeks of time. As his role focuses specifically on foreign-owned businesses, he also emphasises how difficult it would be to identify them without the platform.

Alistair: ‘You could put the time saved by Beauhurst into weeks. The value is identifying how many businesses in our region are foreign-owned. I don’t believe there’s any other way I could identify that without Beauhurst. 

‘Even using Companies House, it’s often not clear what a company’s ownership is, because they don’t necessarily show it on there. Without Beauhurst, you’d have to go into each set of company accounts and identify them from thatif they were big enough to file for accounts. That’s weeks of time saved.

‘You could put the time saved by Beauhurst into weeks.'

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