The old saying goes that you should never enter into business with friends and family. But Russell Meakin and Anthony Gardiner were a couple of friends who ignored that advice and founded Concept Telecom, which has enjoyed sales growth of 77% a year from £1.2m in 1997 to £6.5m in 2000, when it had 18 staff. Meakin’s family supplied most of the start-up finance while Gardiner provided the industry know-how. The Nottingham company began life in 1996 as a telecoms recruitment agency, supplying engineers to mobile-phone clients such as Nokia. It then launched a division to help clients to test and develop new products, such as Sim cards for mobile phones. This mix of services has enabled it to cope with the recent slowdown in demand for telecoms engineers.
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