IT HAS its sights set on a new base in Glasgow, expansion across the UK and doubling the head count.

Steve De la Rosa, managing director of energy consultancy Boxfish, which for nearly quarter of a century was Business Cost Consultants, is looking to grow the West End business significantly after a sweeping rebrand.

The firm launched the revamp at the turn of the year and has had a favourable response.

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Mr De la Rosa said the company acts as “the backroom operations for a company’s utility needs” with businesses such as Trespass and Farmfoods on board.

He said: “We’re looking at acquisitions as a way to expand the business and we are actively looking at the market to see where there may be opportunity for us to look at other operations that are similar to us, that might be in the right space for us. But we’re doing a lot of work in England now, and it might well be that we need something around Leeds, Bradford, Manchester maybe. So we’re looking at that right now.

“London is also picking up for us. We deal with the Ballymore Group working across about five or six sites at the moment.

“The type of services we offer include the procurement of all the utilities, and management, and bureau management of those backroom requirements.

“We give a rounded service, that means that we’re basically the backroom operations for a company’s utility needs. Then we have legislative compliance, which will be anything that the government brings out around carbon or energy saving, or renewables.”

The chief executive said the company is ahead on sales projections and “things are moving well”.

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The firm is looking at doubling its staff of 15 over the next three years, and Mr De la Rosa added: “We are based in Finnieston in the West End on a site that looks like it may be developed for flats at some time in the next three years.

“So, I’m looking at other opportunities in Glasgow for relocation. We’re looking at hiring now. The rebrand’s been a long project. It’s taken us since before Christmas. There’s still stuff to be done. You’ll see a delivery vehicle driving around Glasgow and there’s lots of other things that we’re going to be doing to promote that.

“Next is to ensure that we have all our ducks in a row, with the right qualified staff, for the new revenue streams that we’ve targeted.

“We’re able to do everything that we’ve got on our plate, but we’ve got some new ones that we’re going to advertise, once we’ve got all the correct staff in the place.”

He said there can be pitfalls in the sector, and pointed to Utilitywise, which had to reimburse a supplier £7.6 million after lower-than-anticipated usage before going into administration.

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Mr De la Rosa said Boxfish and other consultancies are mooting a specific regulator for the sector. The firm has linked with other brokers to seek the introduction of formal regulation in the energy brokerage industry.

He said: “There needs to be an official complaints process, set up with an ombudsman, where a contract can be frozen at a beneficial rate, while the deal is being reviewed by a third party.

“I think there’s need for regulation in the industry and most of the issues would go away with proper regulation.

“But it affects the good businesses, and there are good businesses out there. You know, we’re not the only one that’s here to try to put the client in the right space.

“We’re a business that’s been around for about just under 25 years, and we’ve got over 250 years of experience within the business in utilities.”

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The company made the move to undertake a repackaging, which is not without risk, after it found the original name didn’t stand out enough.

He said: “We decided that we want to future-proof our business, and by doing that we invested heavily in the business in advance of that rebrand.

“That’s in equipment, office, all our staff, and we’re doing individual training with them to get them professional qualifications in procurement, and auditing services, and that’s something that is moving at pace now.

“When we actually did the investigation into the market, we found that our name of ‘Business Cost Consultants’ had been tacked on as a tagline to many other businesses, who would be ‘blah blah energy: business cost consultants’.

“So we were getting lost in the noise.

“Our marketing agency put Boxfish together and it’s been very successful. People don’t forget it, which is a good thing.”

The name was chosen as the boxfish is “one of the ocean’s most energy-efficient creatures”.

He said: “What are the challenges? Well obviously the challenge is in making sure that our clients, our existing client base, wasn’t rattled by the change, and we had to ensure that we kept our cards close to our chest, before launch, because it could have been spun up by others as a negative thing.

“We got past that, there was no problem, and our clients have very much bought into the new ethos of Boxfish, and who we are now.

“We’ve evolved over the years and I think we’re a much better equipped company for the fast moving utility market.”


Q What countries have you most enjoyed travelling to, for business or leisure, and why?

A I’ve been lucky in that I’ve travelled a lot but the three places that always stick with me have been Nantucket Island, US, just off of Boston as an ex whaling station it has lots of history and is tiny in that you can cycle it end to end in an hour, it’s very peaceful in the tourist off season; again Byron Bay, Australia, in the off-season takes some beating sitting on a deserted beach watching the whales swim by and the dolphins playing with the surfers. Work wise Jakarta, Indonesia, was amazing as it’s an unbelievable city though most memorable for being caught in city wide flooding up to my chest watching a Rolls Royce float by while kids surfed the flood waters!

Q When you were a child, what was your ideal job? Why did it appeal?

A I wanted to be a chef as I loved cooking and still do though I don’t think I’ll be opening an eatery soon.

Q What was your biggest break in business?

A Working for the Department of International Development where I had to learn quickly how to manage and work with a global range of stakeholders delivering critical aid programmes.

Q What was your worst moment in business?

A When Pelamis Wave Power got into trouble with funding and laid the majority of staff off.

Q Who do you most admire and why?

A I once met David Miliband when being interviewed for a role at the International Rescue Committee. He was really switched on and very genuine about his concerns within the aid sector. I was very impressed with him and I’ve followed his work with the IRC ever since.

Q What book are you reading Break Point by Ollie Ollerton and what music are you listening to?

A I don’t really listen to music preferring podcasts on history or science.

Q What was the last film you saw?

A Wreck it Ralph Breaks the Internet (don’t judge me it was with my six-year-old).