Networks First offers £50,000 startup funds to new staff

Managed network services provider hopes to attract ambitious talent and fund new tech businesses through an incentive scheme

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Managed network and security services supplier Networks First has launched a scheme designed to attract aspirational business talent through its doors by offering them a £50,000 startup payment.

The lump sum comes in addition to salary, sales commission and other standard benefits, as well as a tailored business startup training programme, and will be made after three years of service.

According to Sallie-Ann Allen, head of operations at Networks First and the brains behind the scheme, the payment can be used to launch a startup business in any area, from IT businesses complementary to Networks First, to a tea room or cake shop.

With average job tenure dropping as career-mobile twenty-somethings flood the workplace, Allen said she hoped the idea of a guaranteed, non-commission based payment would help attract more experienced, motivated salespeople.

“It is a challenge to attract high calibre sales talent so we knew we had to look at innovative ways to attract people with an established career,” she said.

"If we compare ourselves with larger IT companies, they pull more weight by brand, and we know we compete on benefits but not brand, so that gave us the idea to try something different."

Managing director Tom Mulvaney added: “Successful IT services salespeople are a rare breed so we’re offering something we think will interest a wider spectrum of candidates with drive, a thirst for responsibility and real entrepreneurial flair. 

“If it does turn out to be a technology business we can work with, then we’ve achieved two things – we’ve created a partner, and we’ve enabled someone to be in control of their own company. As a business with founders who took a big entrepreneurial risk themselves, we know what it feels like to have that burning ambition, and we think it should be celebrated.

Candidates, the first of which were interviewed over Christmas, will be invited to submit a one-minute video detailing their startup plans to Networks First’s microsite. Those that make it through this stage will be subjected to a Dragons’ Den style elevator pitch with the firm’s own senior "dragons".

Allen said she wanted candidates to bring “energy and enthusiasm to selling to us”.

“We want to know what they want to do with their lives, rather than put them through competence-based interviewing,” she said.

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