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TV tycoon Caan invests in web company

Entrepreneur James Caan has put his money where his mouth is and decided to invest in a new Northern Ireland web-based recruitment company.

Webrecuit Ireland is the Dragons’ Den star’s first business venture in the province and speaking at its launch at the Pump House in the Northern Ireland Science Park yesterday, he vowed it would not be his last.

Mr Caan, whose area of expertise is recruitment and private equity, has joined forces with Colin Anderson, chairman of ASG, to form the new Belfast-based company.

The tycoon, who flew into the Titanic Quarter by helicopter, said the reason he had waited so many years to invest in a Northern Ireland business operation was down to finding the right partner.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: “The other recruitment businesses I have are more conventional and charge £10,000 to £15,000 a transaction whereas Webrecruit charges £700 for the same service and has a money back guarantee.

“It’s a model that fits when business budgets are being squeezed because of the recession. And if it makes sense in a downturn, it will be more attractive when the economy is vibrant.”

SMEs, the backbone of the Northern Ireland economy, will be a key market for Webrecruit, which has been operating in the UK for five years.

The experienced businessman, who has a personal fortune of £65m, advised SMEs in the current economic climate to be “very conscious of their customers”.

He said: “A lot of the businesses I come across are not valuing their customers as they should. Maintaining relationships with customers could not be more important than they are today.”