43 Clicks North works to reverse the brain drain with move to The Deep

Mike Ellis in the new office of 43 Clicks North at The Deep Business Centre.

A rapidly expanding digital agency has announced its arrival at The Deep Business Centre in Hull with a commitment to build partnerships which will encourage the retention of local tech talent.

Mike Ellis, Managing Director of 43 Clicks North, has assembled a team of people from Hull who had been lured to Leeds to build their digital marketing careers. Now he’s working with other agencies to stop the brain drain.

He said: “We want to help build a talent pool in Hull and encourage people to stay here and not head off to Leeds. We aim to make sure we can pay good salaries because there are some good people around and we want to offer them opportunities.”

Mike drew on his squad number from his days playing rugby league with Gateshead Thunder for the name of the business, which he launched from his home in Hull in 2017 having spent nearly five years with a major agency in Leeds.

As the business expanded to a hot desk in Hessle and then an office near the city centre, Mike recruited Paul Burnett – now a director – Ash Williams and Jack Foster, all of whom had tired of the M62 commute. 

With Hannah Clark handling the admin, the five moved into The Deep at the beginning of August and are already planning their first tech awareness event – a presentation in the Business Centre’s conference room featuring other Hull-based agencies Superfly and Diony and a pay-per-click specialist from expanding Leeds-based agency Journey Further.

Mike said: “The main reasons we came here are financial viability and a much better location. It puts us at the centre of the businesses that we want to work with. By being in here we will have more conversations with the companies who are growing in Hull and who need support from a digital point of view and the event on 1 October will build on that process.

“A lot of businesses don’t understand enough about how digital technology works and how it can help them. We want to break it down to basics and show them simple changes they can make – our mission statement is to bridge the gap between big agencies and small businesses.

“The digital sector is improving. It’s a fun and exciting sector to be in and we want to provide more job opportunities. There is a lot more talent in Hull than people realise and there is a need to educate people about what is available locally and what it can do for the region’s business community.”

With services which include social media, SEO, paid searches, website design and build and collective experience of more than 30 years, 43 Clicks North is building an international client base, but with a cautious approach to future growth.

Mike said: “We’ve come from a big company background and we have seen what happens when you become too big and things get disjointed. Between us we have decided that up to about 20 people will be enough and we know we can grow to that size here. One of the reasons we moved here was the growth plan that we can put in place here. We knew we had more space than we needed for five people but we don’t want to be moving ever six months just because we bring in more people.”

Freya Cross, Head of Business and Corporate at The Deep, said: “The digital community in Hull has been improving its capabilities and raising its profile in recent years and as part of that we have welcomed a number of expanding technology businesses to the Business Centre.

“The particularly interesting factor with 43 Clicks North is that they have worked in Leeds at a high level and have recognised that they can help to create a similar environment in Hull. We are supporting them with a flexible growth solution which will enable them to expand into more space as and when they need it.”

To book onto the DigiHull event organised by 43 Clicks North, Superfly and Diony and taking place at The Deep Business Centre on Tuesday 1 October please visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/digihull-tickets-71354712867

[Phil Ascough – Ascough Associates]

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