South Tyneside CEO looks to the future following firm’s sale

Businessman Neil Stephenson is offering advice and guidance to new business

Businessman Neil Stephenson is offering advice and guidance to new business

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A former South Tyneside student – who helped transform an IT business into a multi-million pound empire – has sold it in a £65m deal.

Neil Stephenson spent the past 15 years building up Onyx, after working his way from marketing and sales director to CEO, taking it from a £1m turnover to £30m last year.

“I’ve learned so much over the years and with my skills and experience I still have a lot to offer, which is why I’m now looking at the ways I can help other small busineses.”

Neil Stephenson

The firm, which has sites across the UK, was sold for £65m, last month, after the 44-year-old struck a deal with Berkshire-based business Pulsant.

Onyx is a data hosting company managing IT for some of the region’s biggest companies.

It was named North East company of the year in 2010 as well as a number of business and personal accolades over the years.

Despite his company’s success, the former Harton Comprehensive School pupil, says the time was right for him to sell the business.

He is now looking forward to the future and inspiring other young entrepreneurs to follow their dreams.

Mr Stephenson, who lives in Cleadon, said: “I just knew the time was right to sell.

“The business was in a strong position and I had the other investors to think about too.

“I’ve learned so much over the years. With my skills and experience I still have a lot to offer, which is why I’m now looking at the ways I can help other small business.

Mr Stephenson added: “The journey I have been on with Onyx has been incredible, creating the businesses, growing the business.

“It’s something I want to help others to achieve.

“I was never fantastic academically. I attended Harton Comprehensive School and achieved a degree at Sunderland University, I just want people to see what I have achieved and think ‘if he can do it, I can too’.

“I’m now looking at helping small businesses to grow and keen to invest in young companies and work with exciting teams. I still have plenty of hunger and ambition and feel with my skills and experience I have a lot to offer.”

Onyx, which was first established in 1994, has sites in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Rotherham, including datacentres and other recovery offices across the UK.

Clients include Edinburgh Airport, Sage, Eddie Stobbart and Kwik Fit.

Mr Stephenson can be contacted via his Linked In page uk.linkedin.com/in/neilstephenson