Name: Lance Gauld.

Age: 57.

What is your business called?

Cloud Cover IT.

Where is it based?

Bridgeton in the East End of Glasgow.

What services does it offer?

Cloud Cover IT helps to ensure clients are getting the most out of their IT systems and operational technology.

To whom does it sell?

We offer services and develop software for companies, charities and other organisations in Scotland, nationally and increasingly, on a worldwide platform.

What is its turnover?

£2 million.

How many employees?

Currently 33.

The furlough scheme provided the opportunity to navigate some treacherous waters. By taking advantage of the scheme, I’m proud to say that we’ve come back stronger and brought those on furlough back and made no redundancies.

When was it formed?

I formed Cloud Cover back in 2012 where we concentrated on IT infrastructure for SME’s in the central belt of Scotland. Since then, we’ve expanded into different areas including software development, and I now run the business in collaboration with my son Alasdair who joined us in 2019.

Why did you take the plunge?

I worked as an independent IT specialist for 25 years, having built a strong customer base and a good reputation. After such a long time, I felt I needed to grow my business and that’s when I set up Cloud Cover, initially with only three staff. It was definitely a new experience to me having the livelihood of those staff in my hands and it is something you have always got to be aware of, especially now with 33 staff.

Setting up Cloud Cover was around the same point that my children left full time education and somehow, it took the risk pressure off me of having to provide for them.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

After I left school, I worked for a year in a photocopier company but didn’t enjoy the hard selling involved. A large portion of my life was dedicated to providing IT services and support to a number of businesses around Glasgow and Edinburgh by myself. Whilst I really enjoyed it and my customers were my passion it started to consume my life and I had to re-evaluate standing still or growing it into a larger, more professional business.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

Initially Cloud Cover IT was very much self-funded with some support from those initial existing clients to help get going. As the company has progressed we have had very good advice through Glasgow City Councils Economic Development Team and Regeneration Services who helped us build a case for Scottish Enterprise support. More recently we have become a Scottish Enterprise Account Managed company which has been a great source of support for accelerating the growth of the company.

Through our support from Glasgow Council and Scottish Enterprise, we were successful in our application for RSA (Regional Selective Assistance) funding. This was pivotal in helping us grow from 18 to 31 employees in a little over 12 months. During this time, we started our partnership with UK Steel Enterprise (UKSE) and Business Loans Scotland, both of which have been invaluable in securing the funding to grow the business. Without their help, we wouldn’t have been able to grow so quickly.

Our whole team has virtually pulled together incredibly throughout the COVID-19 lockdown and, we are in the fortunate position of having a stronger financial position than many businesses who have been affected more dramatically.

We are ready to carry on growing the business and to support the changes that our clients are making to enable greater collaboration in remote working. During lockdown we secured innovation funding enabling us to complete exciting new products that we feel will have worldwide sales potential and directly respond to the new challenges that businesses are facing.

Recently, our team has developed several solutions to help small business be more secure. We are also working on systems that alert office managers if anyone in their building has an elevated temperature.

What was your biggest break?

Having the support of the right staff and consultants around three years ago enabled us to make important changes to how the Cloud Cover IT business was run. At that point, things were starting to creak and we needed to make important changes operationally and financially to make the potential growth a reality. Without key members of the team being there at that point, we would be a very different and much smaller business today.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

Anyone who knows me will know that I Iove adrenalin sports; motor racing, mountain biking, skiing and, work is my fourth adrenaline sport.

I still find it exciting going to work in the morning and, that energy is essential to the culture that we have built in Cloud Cover IT.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

I can see Cloud Cover IT doubling in size again in the not too distant future. We are superbly positioned to grow our software side of the business internationally and, that is exciting.

My real ambition is for the team here, we have some great young people developing into great managers and, I see our managers truly becoming business leaders. It’s that ambition for our people that drive me.

What single thing would most help?

Based here in the east End of Glasgow and with over half of our staff under 25, we are very aware of the opportunities that we can provide for training and development of the young workforce. Right now, we would love to see increased support and funding to take on new and, especially young or returning to work employees. When we take on and start to train a young person, it takes at least six to 12 months to start to cover their costs but we are totally committed to investing in this generation and, we have some amazing examples here of younger staff doing amazing work.

How do you relax?

Motor racing is a passion passed on from my father to me and, now enjoyed by Alasdair and I. We drive in races across Europe and, there is nothing like the buzz of a track on race day. I recently moved to Dunkeld which is a beautiful place to be at the weekends and allows me to indulge in my passion for mountain biking from my doorstep. I'm looking forward to much more country living while still working remotely just as much as before.