A family business from East Yorkshire which is transforming lives internationally with its health and justice programmes outlined plans for growth based on ambition and integrity as it brought together clients and contacts for a double celebration at The Deep.
Agencia, based at Hessle, marked its 20th anniversary and its success in a national awards scheme by reaffirming the ethos which has earned a worldwide reputation for excellence and by committing to take more services to more countries.
Helen Gibson, Managing Director of Agencia, also unveiled the company’s new brand, which will be at the heart of the expansion programme.
We are dealing in two of life’s most precious commodities – not gold, diamonds, money or anything fancy like that, but health and justice, and it is only when you haven’t got one of those commodities that you realise how important they are.
“Our plan for the next 20 years is continuing growth, but it has to be the right kind of growth. We want to continue transforming lives and communities and making a genuine difference, building on our strengths in our core markets of health and justice.”
Keith Hunter, who stepped down from Agencia when he was appointed as Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner, added:
I was only there for a relatively brief time but they were three of the most impactful years of my life and I keep in very close contact.
“It is always going to be tight for a small business in this game but for the values they hold and the people they attract and their desire to make a real difference I hope Agencia will have a proud future and the next 20 years will see the consolidation and growth that the business deserves.”
Helen outlined the challenges which Agencia has overcome since it was formed by her father, Andrew, with a vision for improving healthcare services. She joined the business eight years ago as part of a succession plan with her father Andrew, the founder of the company.
She was appointed Managing Director five years ago and was joined this year by her sister, Joy Allen, the company’s Head of HR and Corporate Services. In July, they were voted the Best Small Business in the UK at the National Family Business Awards.
Agencia overcame competition from more traditional small business sectors including biscuit-making, DIY retail and a brewery to win the award, with judges identifying a small business which is making a big impact by applying family values to complicated, international, modern-day challenges.
Helen told guests at The Deep of some of Agencia’s activities. The attendance of dignitaries from Sarajevo highlighted work to tackle corruption, financial crime and money-laundering in Bosnia Herzegovina. Service users were also present to vouch for the quality of Agencia’s work in tackling drug use and painkiller addiction in Northern Lincolnshire.
Agencia’s first job back in 1997 was at a factory in East Hull. The second one was for the Ministry of Defence, in German hospitals which were treating British forces.
“Now we have completed more than 400 contracts in 13 project countries with a repeat business rate of 87 per cent. We operate from offices in Hull, Scunthorpe and Sarajevo and we have earned our places on some of the top Government frameworks.
“We have had sleepless nights. We were nearly flooded, we came through the recession and we’ve constantly found how tough it is competing with the ‘big boys’. We’ve rejected requests to whitewash reports and we sacrificed about £100,000 worth of business by highlighting corruption which would have been easy to overlook. But integrity is more important, and it paid dividends in the long run.”
“Agencia is a family company and that extends to everybody who becomes part of the business. The family feeling is based on the relationships that develop between people as they work closely together – relationships built on honesty and a desire to deliver beneficial change, not just to win another contract.
They work together so well and they achieve the high figures for repeat business that other companies can only dream of.