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Funding to support business growth

Charmaine Vincent, CEO of Baltimore Consulting, spoke to Becky Wilson following her management buy-out last year, revealing the opportunities this provides for her team and future growth


Vincent originally set up Baltimore Consulting in 2013 with support from its former parent company, Opus Talent Solutions. She completed an MBO in May 2018, which enabled her to acquire 100 per cent of the business with support from alternative credit specialist, Caple. The company supported Vincent with a £1.5 million fully unsecured six-year loan.


Baltimore’s core sectors include local government, healthcare and education, and it currently supports around 80 per cent of local authorities in England and Wales. Based in Bristol, the business focuses on placing interim and permanent candidates into roles in areas including special educational needs, safeguarding adults and children, mental health and social housing. Reflecting on her original launch of the company with Opus, she shares, “It was a great opportunity and allowed me to set the foundations that were needed to build a specialist recruitment agency within the public sector.”


Considering the options


Vincent explains that after five years, she was looking for the opportunity to take full ownership of Baltimore Consulting and grow it independently. When her bank was unable to lend her the money she needed to buy the business, the company’s corporate finance advisor provided alternative options to consider. She soon began focusing on the option offered by Caple, which she says, “Offered the amount of finance we needed while enabling me to take full control of the business.” She describes Caple as “ideal” as it provided access to unsecured long-term growth funding without the need for assets to use as security or personal guarantees.


Now the sole owner of her business, Vincent explains that the funding has given Baltimore the opportunity to scale and expand. Prior to the funding, most of the company’s clients were London-based, but this has now grown to the East of England, South East and the North. It has enabled Baltimore to respond to areas where it is seeing the most demand and scale up accordingly.


Vincent is also passionate about flexible working. She adds that, “Taking control with the support of Caple has meant I can do what’s best for my people and give everyone a chance to flourish.” This means she can hire the right staff, even if they’re unable to work 9:00am – 5:30pm, Monday to Friday. Baltimore has always invested in its staff and continues to do this following the MBO. Vincent highlights, “Our point of difference is that we ensure all of our staff are certified in their specialist subject areas.”


Focusing on people


As Vincent looks to the future for the business, Baltimore is very much focused on further growth. She explains, “We’re planning to expand further into key sectors including charities, housing and education. Our plans mean we grow in a manner that best suits our business and our consultants.”  


When asked what advice she would give to any other recruitment businesses looking to secure funding, she reveals that the key lies in thinking outside the box. Previously, unsecured lending was something she wasn’t aware of, which has given her the opportunity to retain control of the business without giving away equity.


In any decision the business makes, Vincent says that the company’s people must remain the key focus. She shares, “My advice for recruitment agency owners more generally is to focus on your employees. They are your most valuable asset. You must make sure you invest in their learning and development. Securing this funding has enabled me to live up to the commitment I make to our people. It ensures our staff get what they need to deliver the best for themselves, the business, and most importantly, for our clients.” Vincent certainly seems set on using this funding to grow the business and support her people’s success.

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