Associate feature: A big journey for a small start-up
Jo Dow, chief executive of Business Stream, on driving change in the water sector
Image credit: Business Stream
In 2006 I was part of a small team that was given the opportunity to establish a new organisation called Business Stream, to compete in the newly established Scottish retail water market. When I reflect back it’s incredible to think that thirteen years on, following a period of unprecedented growth and change, Business Stream is now one of the three largest water retailers in the UK.
Since the Scottish retail water market opened in 2008, we have been working hard to drive change in the water sector and to help our customers reap the benefits created by a competitive market. In April 2017, the English retail water market opened to competition, which paved the way for 1.2 billion businesses and public bodies to be able to choose their supplier. This created a new £2.2bn market on our doorstep, with huge opportunities for us to grow by leveraging the knowledge, capability and experience we had gained from almost ten years of operating in Scotland.
We firmly established our position in the new Anglo-Scottish market, by acquiring Southern Water’s non-household customer base, which doubled the size of our customer base overnight. This was the first of its kind for us, and one of the largest acquisitions by a Scottish company in 2016. Recognising that scale would be vital for us to continue delivering a competitive service for our customers, we announced plans to acquire the non-household customer base of Yorkshire Water Business Services in January 2019, which will cement our position as one of the largest retailers in the market.
Throughout this period of growth, we have remained committed to looking after our people – we wouldn’t be the business we are today if we didn’t. We want to create a working environment that encourages diversity and inclusion, where people have access to opportunities to learn, develop and progress and we are continuously taking steps to ensure our peoples’ career and personal goals are supported.
I am really proud of what we have achieved as a business. It has undoubtedly been a rollercoaster ride with highs and lows, but above all else it’s been exciting, challenging and hugely rewarding – and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds.
Jo Dow is chief executive of Business Stream
This piece was sponsored by Business Stream
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