Using their own money, cash from British Coal Enterprises and a small-firms loan from the government, Ed Smith and Andrew Metcalf set up Remarc Technologies in 1995 to take advantage of what they saw as a buoyant market for information-technology training in the north of England. Starting in Leeds and specialising in Microsoft and Lotus programs, the pair were inundated by demand. They had expected people to need basic training on packages such as Microsoft Word, but actually found a strong demand for more technical training, using packages like Microsoft Basic and Lotus Notes. The company, which opened an office in Manchester in 1997, tailors training sessions to individual company needs and claims that anyone who is not satisfied can get his money back or do the course again for free. Such a customer-focused approach has driven up sales 102% a year, from £426,000 in 1996 to £3.5m in 1999.
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