Introducing the Company of the Year shortlist for this year’s Growing Business Awards…
- FDM: FDM is the UK’s largest IT graduate employer and the 11th fastest-growing company in Europe. Founded, and still run by, by CEO Rod Flavell, the FDM Academy is a unique graduate scheme that bridges the gap between university and employment, transforming graduates into successful IT consultants. In 2011, £84m-turnover FDM will recruit 1,000 IT graduates – five times more than IBM! Brighton-headquartered FDM has 200-plus blue-chip clients worldwide and is making an immense contribution to filling the UK’s IT skills gap.
- De Poel: Founded in 2001 by Matthew Sanders and Michael Campbell, Knutsford-based de Poel is a seriously innovative player in the temporary agency market. With more than 70 top-drawer clients and a turnover gunning for £400m this year, de Poel is flourishing as the labour market becomes ever more flexible. At the heart of de Poel’s service is its e-tips software, which dramatically reduces costs and administration for any client seeking temporary labour. And the company itself is recognised as a high-quality employer.
- Ecotricity: Ecotricity was launched in 1995 as the only company in the world providing green electricity. A social enterprise, with no shareholders to answer to, the Stroud-based business supplies more than 50,000 homes and businesses across the UK with green energy. Ecotricity, founded by former “eco-warrior” Dale Vince, is all about doing things differently: its £10m “eco-bond”, for example, was the most successful private bond ever issued in the UK, and was used to fund the UK’s first large-scale solar park. Ecotricity, a former Growing Business Awards winner, also launched the “Electric Highway” network of free electric vehicle charging posts.
- Forrest: Originally founded as a joinery in 1955, Preston-based Forrest today is one of the UK’s leading social housing and public-sector support services groups. The company’s vision is to regenerate, refurbish and respond in communities across the north. Even over the past three years, Forrest has grown profits and revenues, by identifying emerging markets such as “green retrofit.” The business is also committed to sourcing from local supply chains, and more than 80 per cent of its workforce are recruited through local employment and training initiatives.
- Kelway: Phil Doye set up Kelway aged 21, selling fax rolls, printer cartridges and cables. Today it’s one of Britain’s top IT solutions and services business, which has done double-digit revenue growth every year since 2003, set to top £300m in 2011/2012. More than one-third of the FTSE 100 are customers, and Kelway is growing fast internationally, with offices in the Middle East, South Africa and, soon, Singapore. Closer to home, Kelway will create 350 new jobs when its new facility opens in Peterborough.
- Zenith: Zenith is a terrific example of how innovation and ambition can fuel growth, even in challenging economic times. Established in 1989 as a fleet provider, Zenith has grown to the UK’s largest independent leasing company, following its acquisition of Provecta Car Plan. Zenith has grown every year since 1989 and now manages 33,000 vehicles across its mid-sized and large-corporate client base. Latest numbers show turnover at £147m and ebitda close to £10m. Notably, Zenith has implemented some of the largest “salary sacrifice for cars” schemes in the UK, and this is an area where the Leeds-based business expects strong future growth.
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