Both Mark Collins and Julia Uttley (pictured below) had worked for large telecommunications companies before they founded Equador Consulting in 1995 to provide support services to telecoms companies across Europe. They have found setting up a pan-European company more difficult than anticipated, with different tax and employment systems causing frequent headaches. ‘We’re running about six months behind where we could have been because we hadn’t realised the complexity of establishing a small business in Europe,’ says Collins, who is chief executive. Despite these problems the company has managed to drive up sales 145% a year from £385,000 in 1996 to £5.7m in 1999. Half of these come from exports. The company has offices in Paris and Utrecht and is planning to set up bases in Germany, Italy and Scandinavia. Its clients include industry giants such as Cable & Wireless and NTL and rising stars such as Completel and VersaTel.
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