Meet the founders

Meet the founders

Rachel Barnes and Sharon Atkinson were used to working with major clients, such as Vodafone and Orange, in their previous roles managing inbound and outbound call activity at the Garlands call centre on Teesside.

But when the centre shut, leaving them out of work, that’s when they decided to explore their entrepreneurial instincts by starting up on their own.

“We had never run a business before,” says Rachel. “Sharon and I worked in unrelated professions before meeting at Garlands, then got experience of working with some of the biggest phone operators who were our clients. After we lost our jobs, we decided to start our company. We had been seriously thinking about it for a while, so when we lost our jobs it gave us the final push.”

They drew on their background at Garlands and created Call Agents in 2010, offering clients a call answering service and also bespoke telemarketing services.

“It makes sense,” insists Rachel. “Many companies don’t have the resources to pay for a full-time receptionist.”

Due to their connections with Teesside, they decided to establish the business in Middlesbrough, at Teesside University’s Business Park.

They now employ numerous PA’s at their office and are working with some major clients.

Business Link advisor Karen Jones said: “This business has come a long way in a short period of time.”