MP makes fact-finding visit as part of drive to develop digital skills for business

A digital marketing company set up with the aim of developing digital skills in its home city is backing the campaign launched by the local MP to raise Hull’s profile in the sector.

Mike Ellis of 43 Clicks North with Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy

43 Clicks North welcomed Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy to its offices in the Old Town where managing director Mike Ellis outlined his firm’s story so far and its plans for expansion.

Emma gave an update on her Work Hull Work Happy campaign which is promoting the city as the best place for co-working in the UK, supporting workers to pursue their dream career without compromising on connectivity, culture, or cost of living.

The MP made a fact-finding visit to hear about the company’s work with clients as varied as Hull City AFC and Rhinox Group Limited. 43 Clicks North is helping the football club increase sales of merchandise, match tickets and memberships.

Rhinox, which is based in North Newbald – the East Yorkshire village where Emma grew up – makes excavation buckets and attachments and is aiming to reach £80m turnover in the next three years, in part as a result of 43 Click North’s digital marketing drive in the United States.

Mike was on his own when he launched the business in 2017 having begun his career with major agencies in Leeds. By 2019, when he set up at The Deep Business Centre, he had expanded to a team of five. That had more than trebled by the time the business moved to its own premises in High Street two years ago, and now there are more than 20 people.

He said: “As I grew the business I realised there was a lack of visibility around digital services in Hull. There are some good individuals in the sector but to develop the talent pool we need agencies to build capacity, attract other businesses in the area to use our services, and develop an eco-system around the talent base.

“I grew up working in the bars around the Old Town and I watched the digital sector getting off the ground with such developments as C4DI. We are close enough to be a part of that but at the same time we are working independently.

“Our aim is to put Hull on the map in a digital world and our view is that’s an ongoing mission. There’s no way we can say we’ve finished it because we can keep adapting it in any way we want, moving our own goalposts.

“We can bring more national businesses to come and work in Hull, we can go into colleges and train people, we can also look at skills workshops with other organisations. We invited Emma to come and see us because we want to play our part in the Work Hull Work Happy campaign.”

Emma was impressed with the company’s role in organising the Power Hour series of events which attract digital professionals from across Yorkshire and beyond to share best practice and current thinking between colleagues and clients.

She said: “There’s a recognition that people are unlikely to work with 43 Clicks North for the rest of their careers but are likely to improve their skills, and move on to digital marketing managerial jobs with SMEs.

“That strengthens digital and brings wider benefits because SMEs across the country, in all sectors, need help with digital development and if we can do more to support them we will see more growth across the board. It shows how businesses in Hull’s digital sector are collaborating to keep work in the city and to bring more in, with everything that means in terms of retaining jobs and creating new ones.”