UK: Excelerate, a business that helps emergency services cope with terrorist attacks, is among the Welsh finalists in HSBC’s GBP 108 million mentoring, export and finance competition, ‘Business Thinking’. David Savage, an IT professional, started Excelerate just as the September 11 terrorist attacks caused a fundamental rethink about how approaches to disasters, accidents and crime are tackled worldwide.
Products offered by Excelerate include wireless broadband, private GSM networks, GIS mapping and dual thermal, body-worn and high-reach cameras. “Police, fire brigades and ambulance services all need sophisticated communications to co-ordinate their response to emergencies and to limit risk. In the post-9/11 era, there is greater demand for command and control applications,” Savage said.
“It is an unfortunate fact that every major attack exposes inadequacies in telecommunications, technology and working practices. Whenever they occur there are always investigations into how things can be managed better; we are part of the ‘managing it better’ process.”
Despite continued terrorist attacks across the world and the perceived need for better approaches to prevention, Cardiff-based Excelerate has not been an overnight success. The company’s turnover reached GBP 5.3 million in 2010 after a protracted period of slow growth, according to Savage.
“It is the longest start-up I have ever been involved with. It took six years to breach the GBP 1 million turnover mark and I ploughed everything I had into the business. But in the last three years we could be winning awards for our profitability.” In 2008, sales reached GBP 1.6 million. The following year it was GBP 4.1 million, last year GBP 5.3 million and the business is on course for 50 percent growth in the UK alone this year. Three years ago there were five staff, today there are 37.