A Ripon entrepreneur is planning to bring back speaker manufacturing to Yorkshire after experiencing rapid growth in the past year.
BishopSound was set up by Andrew Bishop in 2016. The company’s products sell worldwide and include PA speakers, amplifiers and mixing equipment. Bands such as Elbow, The Courteneers and members of Ocean Colour Scene use BishopSound equipment, and the company also supplies speakers to schools, places of worship, pubs, clubs and DJs.
BishopSound has been able to speed up growth thanks to an £11,000 grant from AD:VENTURE, a business support programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The grant was used for website development, product photography, a promotional video and IT equipment.
“We’re in a phenomenal growth pattern at the moment – every month we seem to double our turnover compared to the previous year,” Andrew said. “People have latched on to the sound that we create, looked at the price and realised that there’s no point in going anywhere else.
“Without the AD:VENTURE funding, we definitely wouldn’t have been able to operate at the capacity we are currently working at and we’ve been able to speed up our new product plans.”
Andrew set up his business with the aim of bringing back the ‘British Sound’ to the PA speaker industry, which was established in the 1960s when bands such as The Beatles enjoyed worldwide success. UK-made speaker equipment was renowned for its quality but much of the equipment has to be manufactured in China.
Andrew is now developing prototypes with Yorkshire manufacturers with the aim of selling equipment made in our region in 2020.
“We have tried to use as many Yorkshire companies as possible to help us set up the business, and that’s the same for the manufacturing side,” he added. “At the moment 90 per cent of our sales are made overseas but we want to bring more British-made speakers back to the market. We’ve been able to bring forward our plans for that thanks to the rapid growth we have had.”
Coun Graham Swift, deputy leader and cabinet member for resources, enterprise and economic development at Harrogate Borough Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see the success of a local entrepreneur, and hear of their commitment to increase development and production in Yorkshire. We are delighted to be a partner in the AD:VENTURE programme, directly helping the growth of start-ups. BishopSound is a great example of how that support can unlock the potential of our local businesses.”