Any other business

General election 2015: Crawford Healthcare CEO Richard Anderson – I'm voting as...

6 min read

21 April 2015

Former editor

When you have plans to quadruple turnover in the next few years, it helps to have a supportive government in place. Richard Anderson explains what he's looking for as part of our "I'm voting as..." feature series.

The needs and wants of senior business leaders has figured highly in the manifestos of the major political parties, but less so in the televised debates.

Real Business is on a mission to discover exactly it is they desire, and what these changes would allow each to do,

Who are you and what does your business do?

My name is Richard Anderson, and I’m the CEO of Crawford Healthcare. The business was established 1999 and we have since become the UK’s fastest growing advanced wound care company. We operate in a hugely dynamic market – worth more than $19bn globally – providing products that repair and protect the skin, as well as managing infection. We have an extensive pipeline of products both on the market and in development that we feel will make us the world leader in advanced wound care.

When I acquired the business in 2009, turnover was just over £2.5m. That figure now stands at around £20m and we have an ambitious growth strategy in place for the next few years.

How has your business changed over the last five years?

We’ve seen a drastic change since 2009 when the business was a small, family-run operation. Since then, we’ve grown with great success. We initially had just three people on the payroll and we’re now over 100-strong, with our own laboratories, manufacturing facilities and direct sales forces. It’s an exciting time for the business and we’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved so far.

What are your growth plans for the next five years?

We have big plans for the next five years, but the next three are arguably the most challenging and exciting to date. We’re currently in the middle of launching the business in Germany, while our US operation is undergoing a major growth transformation. We also recently secured a new funding facility from HSBC that will support our plan to quadruple turnover in the next few years. We’re expecting the global market to expand by 30 per cent in the next five years so, while it’s an ambitious plan, we believe our goals are achievable.

What kind of government would you like to see elected?

From a business perspective, we would be in support of a government that helps support an environment where everyone, from large corporates to SMEs and startups, can flourish. In terms of Crawford Healthcare’s growth, that would be a government that encourages and rewards growth and is pro business. In terms of our future growth strategy and its significant focus on the European market, we’ll be watching with interest to see if an in/out vote comes to be.

Regionally, further development of our transport links across the North West is essential – and we’d like to see a government that isn’t limited to just HS2. We would also encourage the further growth of apprenticeships and other on the job training schemes, which we view as vital to developing our young people in the region.

Read other “I’m voting as…” features:

Do you think government in general is doing enough to support businesses of your size?

Speaking from a Crawford Healthcare perspective, it’s fair to say that we’re in the right environment given our achievements in the last few years. As a business based in the North West, we’ve been boosted by the government’s support for R&D through the implementation of the Patent Box. We’ve also seen the benefits of the chancellor’s support for the healthcare component of the Northern Powerhouse initiative, and we expect and hope that support will continue whatever parliament looks like after the election.

The North West – Manchester in particular – is a hub for scientific development, and the government’s consistent investment in the region’s research establishments has proved beneficial for the healthcare sector. We’re working closely with the great minds at the University of Manchester to develop our product pipeline, and our challenge is to assist and commercialise that innovation.

Has the impending general election caused any uncertainty regarding how you run your company?

As a private business, it’s essential that you don’t become dependent on external factors and government policy. While, naturally, we’re watching the election closely, it’s very much business as usual.

In one sentence, please finish this line: “I’m voting as…”

I’m voting as the leader of a high-growth healthcare business undergoing major international expansion and hoping to see the evolution of a pro business culture whatever the outcome.

Read more from our general election coverage:

Do you agree with Richard Anderson? Is there anything you’d like to add? Please let us know in the comments box below.