Paisley grew his last business – risk, legal tax and interim search consultancy GRS Group – in the town as well. Founded in 2002, GRS reported turnover of £200,000 after its first year but is likely to hit the £11m mark this year. Paisley recently exited the business when it was bought by management in a £18m deal.
“GRS’s head office is in Brighton, which was unique for a firm that did what we did,” he says. “We opened an office in London after about two years; there were around 35 consultants in the capital and about 35 consultants in Brighton but all the admin staff were in Brighton and that’s where the founders are from originally.”
Being in Brighton has a positive impact on the culture of the business, Paisley says, as “Brighton is a fairly unique place”.
He adds: “A lot of firms in London take themselves terribly seriously. When it comes to the work we do, we’re very professional but we also understand when you’re not dealing with clients, you don’t have to take yourself so seriously.”
Paisley started ProCo Global in September 2007: “We’re recruiting mid-to-senior-level procurement, supply chain and logistics people. We’ve got an office in the UK and one in Munich and employ about 16 to 17 people already. We want to be the global leader by 2012.”
The plans are ambitious but Paisley says the opportunities are there to be exploited. “Procurement is where risk was when we started GRS six years ago. People are doing it at a much more junior level and there are the big search firms picking up the very top end, but there’s a gap in the £60k to £150k-salary bracket that nobody’s touching. We’ve already been received incredibly well.”
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