11th October 2015. Landward Research Ltd started trading five years ago today.
Since then, this business has developed, changed and grown in many ways.
Originally just Kenneth Aitchison as Executive Director and Ian Aitchison as Company Secretary, Ross Padwick became the company's Financial Director and Mark Spanjer joined the Board of Directors soon after the business started. Doug Rocks-Macqueen joined the company as a Researcher in 2012, and transitioned from employee to become the Director of Analysis, Research and Technology in 2015. Doug and Kenneth are both still on the payroll, as is Ben Lewis, who joined the company as a UCL Advances intern in the summer of 2015 and is now employed as the company's Cultural Heritage Projects Researcher.
The core competencies of the company have concentrated on labour market intelligence research, where we feel that we are the market-leaders for this kind of work in the cultural heritage professions, and on the development of e-learning materials. The company's first project was "Vocational Training System in Archaeological Heritage based upon e-learning Resources", which was funded by the European Commission and led by Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan – and, five years later, we are now working on a follow-up to that project, again funded by the EC and led by UAMP.
New competencies have been developed, firstly in monitoring and evaluation of project proposals (for different EC Executive Agencies, covering both the Culture Programme and now Horizon 2020) and of project outcomes, notably for the British Council. And, thanks to the skills of Doug, we have developed another new area of competence, in recording, editing and presenting videos of conferences and training events.
We remain close to our archaeological centre, but the company has expanded into providing services for many professional fields, and we have had clients in six European countries, together with many in the UK and also in the USA. We now wholly own two subsidiary companies that were initially set up in 2013, Landward Library Ltd (limited in Scotland) and Landward LLC, which is incorporated in New Mexico. In addition to those offices, the company's registered office continues to be in Sheffield, as it always was from foundation, although the address moved up the hill from Walkley to Crookes when the Executive Director's correspondence address moved to London in 2012 – and it then moved to Kathmandu in 2015.
So now we feel very international – a company registered in England and Wales, another in Scotland and a third in the United States. The five directors live in England, Scotland, Australia, the Netherlands and Nepal. About 45% of our income has been denominated in Euro, with a small amount in US Dollars and the majority still in Pounds sterling. The company's turnover and profit margins have improved year-on-year, and our financial capacity now meets all the criteria set by the European Commission's "Methodology for evaluating the financial capacity of candidates/tenderers for public contracts".
What the next five years will bring is unknowable. The intention is for the company to continue to grow, to expand our activities in familiar markets and to enter new ones, to manage the risk as we do so by working increasingly in joint ventures and by commissioning subcontractors. We want to continue to receive good advice and work with good people, continuing to find ways for the company to be a successful and profitable social enterprise.