THERE is a saying that the only impossible journey is the one you never begin. It probably feels an appropriate saying today as I reflect on my journey with Novosco over the past 12 years or so.
It doesn't seem very long ago that I was working from an industrial unit in Carryduff with a few members of staff, dreaming about growing a bigger business. Even in my wildest dreams though, I didn't envisage Novosco getting to where it is today.
As you may have seen in the media recently, Novosco has joined the multi-national CANCOM Group and will form an important part of its plans for growth in the UK and beyond.
The fact that we were able to build Novosco into a highly respected team providing IT managed services to large public bodies and private businesses across the UK and Ireland, led CANCOM to believe it was a perfect cornerstone for its UK business too.
Growing to 300 people and winning large contracts with some of the UK's major NHS Trusts would have seemed like an impossible journey back in the early days. In retrospect though, that now feels like something that would be absolutely attainable for lots of other Northern Ireland businesses.
Having the confidence to believe that you actually can grow by competing beyond your home market is the starting point. Putting your belief into practice is the next - and that sometimes requires a strong stomach.
The key part of my journey was joining my business Real Time Systems with 4sol which was owned by John Lennon to form Novosco. We shared a desire to create something bigger than we could probably achieve apart.
We also shared a belief that the talent in Northern Ireland was as good as anywhere, and that there was no reason why we couldn't compete in England for big contracts given the skills in the marketplace here. We had the confidence - eventually - to put our belief into practice and the guts to take a few managed risks along the way.
There are great Northern Ireland businesses who have done similar things, and I see many examples of local companies who have the potential to do the same and achieve real success outside the local marketplace to the benefit of them, their employees, and the local economy.
So, what of the future for Novosco?
In early 2020, Novosco will rebrand to CANCOM UK. John Lennon has become the joint managing director of CANCOM UK, and I will continue to advise the business. Novosco's expertise and skills will live on within CANCOM and will help propel it to even greater things into the future.
I strongly believe that the acquisition by CANCOM UK is a hugely positive and exciting development for Novosco, our people, our clients and the communities in which we operate, bringing together two companies with very complementary expertise and very similar cultures, ambitions and outlooks.
CANCOM is a world-class business with a global reach that sees the addition of Novosco's people, expertise and client-base as a core part of its strategy for growth.
The combined specialisms, resources and skills of the two businesses creates a very strong platform from which to further enhance the service we provide to our existing clients and to challenge for new and exciting contracts. That's the next part of Novosco's journey.