Telling the truth about SME life today

Entrepreneurs’ Summit 2013 live: The analysis

09:45am: Matthew Rock and James Ashton are discussing the findings of the Hot 100 2013.


London is pulling away from the rest of the UK with 30 per cent of Hot 100 coming from the region. Matthew Rock says the North-west and the Midlands are also strong regions this year, with 18 per cent and 17 per cent respectively. “This is a strong, industrial region of the UK.”

Comment from the floor, by former MD of a gin distillery in the north west: “The reason the North-west is doing so well is the commitment of the workforce out there. Their commitment that obstacles are overcome is quite incredible.:

James Asthon: “One of the good things about [The Hot 10] is that these companies are not household names, they’re not getting a lot of coverage. This gives a great snapshot of how the economy is doing.”


Matthew Rock says there is a re-emergence of what you might call the “real economy” visible in the list: manufacturing and engineering, food and drink businesses are very present.

High performers:

Average compound annual growth rate is 43 per cent in the list. Matthew Rock: “Points to a heartland UK economy, a mid-market sector hat is robust and performing well. These figures seem to be encouraging on that.”

Promising outlook:

83 per cent of Hot 100 expect the fortunes of the overall UK economic climate to greatly or slightly improve.

Over half of companies are targeting entry into new overseas market. Thoughts from the audience on moving into emerging markets: “We brought manufacturing to the UK from Japan and are now finding a particular opportunity to expand to Asia. The support of the UKTI is significant.”

Another comment: “We are a toy manufacturer and rely on foreign sales for more than 50 per cent of our income and what’s fascinating is that while Europe is essentially falling apart, there’s an enormous amount of money in any countries with oil and gas resources. And they all want well designed British consumer goods. It’s actually really not that difficult. We supply about 30 big cities in China and they are thrilled that we’re skilled at marketing levels. Kazakhstan has been fantastic, too.”

75 per cent of business in the Hot 100 expect to increase their number of full-time employees. “That indicates that full-time employment is on the agenda although outsourcing is rising,” says Matthew Rock.

A comment from the room: “We created an intern scheme in 2011 and got 350 applicants for four jobs, the quality of which was fantastic. At the end of 2012 we kept all four of them in full-time employment. We knew how to take on more people because we were growing fast. I think there are flexible ways of giving young people a chance. Next year we’d like to do an apprentice scheme.”


83 per cent of Hot 100 businesses said the UK should take more pride in the contribution of British business and entrepreneurship. 

A comment from the audience: “We need to increase the amount that entrepreneurship is presented in education as a career path. It’s about presenting it as a realistic way to earn a living to everyone, and particularly women who are so underrepresented in businesses of this size. We need to present ourselves as role models to young people.”

Another comment: “I’m an engineer and I’ve stopped saying ‘I’m an engineer’ because when you say that you’re a car mechanic. We make such high tech stuff in the UK and I get so irritated when I see a spanner in association with an engineer.

Another member of the audience: “I produce Indian wines. You only need to look at the US to see what the [business] culture is like there. We need to create an ecosystem where every single stakeholder sees the value in this.”

Lord Young comments: “Wherever I go I see enthusiasm now. Yes, there are some areas going badly and they are reported. But when I go around I see all sorts of smaller growth companies and they show nothing but enthusiasm.”



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