When lockdown 2020 scuppered Brian Kerrigan’s plans for a couple of months off work he changed his focus to start his award-winning business a few months early. We chatted to him to find out how he started a business in lockdown, how winning two awards has affected his business and what his plans are now.
Brian, tell us a little more about your business
I’m Brian Kerrigan and I’m Company Director at Frontline Integrity. We’re based on the Cobalt Business Park in North Tyneside and we’re an independent pipeline consultancy working across the globe.
I started the business at the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020. My original plan was to leave my previous role and enjoy a couple of months off work. Obviously, the lockdown put a stop to those plans so I decided to start Frontline Integrity a couple of months earlier.
We work in the oil, gas and mining industries, helping pipeline owners and operators manage their integrity needs. We’re a small team of six and we work closely alongside a number of contractors.
How did you come to win two awards?
We’ve been incredibly lucky to receive invaluable support form The Business Factory – Jeff in particular. He suggested that we put ourselves forward for the New Business Award and, with his guidance, we did just that. Obviously, we were delighted to be shortlisted and went along to the ceremony to enjoy mixing with other businesses for the first time in two years.
At the ceremony, all winners from the various categories were given the opportunity to win the Business of the Year award too. When our name was announced we were so surprised – it really was an unexpected bonus.
Winning these awards helps to recognise all the hard work our team has done since we started the business two years ago. The past couple of years have been a struggle for everyone so to have our achievements recognised with these awards is brilliant. The business world has been turbulent for all businesses, let alone being a start-up as well!
Being able to attend an actual, in-person event was one of the best things about being a nominee for the awards – it was so nice to be able to attend an event that wasn’t online again. The whole evening was a great success and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
What are your plans for the business?
We’re currently developing some web-based software to give our customers the ability to perform some tasks themselves, which they currently outsource. We’re also working closely with the Department of International Trade and will be leading an Indian delegation visit to the UK to discuss the challenges associated with repurposing natural gas infrastructure to transport hydrogen. Alongside that, we are also scheduling a south America workshop around crack management of pipelines.
We hope that new business leads will be generated which will mean we can expand our team even more.
What are your favourite things about working in North Tyneside?
Our region is a fantastic place to run a business, not only because of the talented people and resources we have up here but the general support for new businesses we get from organisations like the Business Forum and the Business Factory. And then there’s the friendly locals – there really is no comparison!
We’ve been incredibly lucky to receive lots of support since we set up in March 2020. The North Tyneside Business Forum has provided various events and webinars on topics like cashflow management, websites, marketing, branding and Intellectual Property.
TEDCO has provided our business with great one to one support in areas like HR support while DIT has helped us with our export strategy. As a result, we’ve just been selected as a UK export champion which is fantastic for our business.
And finally, we’ve received support from the North of Tyne Recovery Grant to support our software project. So, all in all, we’re extremely grateful!