With its 5,000sq ft headquarters in West Yorkshire, IC Blue also has offices in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Hungary, and it established an EU zone shipping hub in the Netherlands three years ago. In 2021, the rapidly growing business opened a 10,000sq ft inspection and logistics facility in Leeds city centre.

The business, which is 80% export-based, has grown from a revenue of £7.9m in 2020, to £16.5m in 2021 and to £39.5m in 2022 – a rise of around 400% in the last three years. The team has increased from 30 to 50 people and IC Blue is this year planning to recruit another 20 Yorkshire-based linguists and support staff to help manage customer relationships. It currently has 20-plus different language speakers in-house, servicing over 900 customers across 50 countries.

Finding success 

“By spotting a gap in the component distribution sector, we have been able to establish ourselves as a leading independent supplier across Europe. Sitting between direct manufacturer supply and mainline distribution, we have shaken up traditional semiconductor supply chains by providing accountable procurement services, designed to meet the needs of mid-sized businesses, and a reliable route to realising value from excess components and reducing waste of precious metals and components."

“Traditionally, many of the large semiconductor suppliers have focused on huge, multi-national customers, often in the high-end automotive sector, meaning that supply for smaller businesses has been constrained. However, we have been able to offer them better access by getting value back from redundant stock across Europe without compromising on quality or service levels."

“This has only been possible because of Yorkshire’s heritage as a centre for semiconductor businesses, based on Premier Farnell’s history – after being founded in Leeds in 1939, it went on to become one of the leading distributors of electronic systems in the world, trading throughout Europe, North American and Asia Pacific with operations in 36 countries."

“Our home in Leeds provides an ideal base, offering cost efficiencies over other regions as well as a pool of really talented people, often graduates from Yorkshire universities, looking for exciting career opportunities beyond traditional sectors which enable them to stay here. We have harnessed skills within the region, both in terms of electronics and language expertise, to create a gateway to Europe, becoming a vital alternative to the traditional supply chain. The combination of a talented workforce, affordability, a supportive city council and international connectivity, has given us the dynamic platform we need to drive our international growth.”

“With just 30% of our sales currently coming from the US, but having seen 300% growth in the last 12 months, we believe this market is key and offers huge potential for further expansion - we will be actively growing our presence there over the next few years.”

Matthew Ward, Director of IC Blue

  Matthew Ward

  Director, IC Blue

Business supported and case study obtained through Great British Marketing.

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