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Growing Business Awards: Entrepreneur of the Year

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The shortlist comprises:

KHALID HUSSAIN, PAK SUPERMARKETSSANDRA McCLUMPHA, FAKE BAKEDENYS C. SHORTT, DCS EUROPELAURA TENISON, JOJO MAMAN BÉBÉGLEN MANCHESTER, THUNDERHEAD

And the winner is… GLEN MANCHESTER!!!!

All the way from Elstree. A software entrepreneur launches in the dot-com aftermath, doesn’t use VC funding – and builds a world-leader

It’s quite a CV that lists the first job as a Scottish Highlands “ghillie” and finishes with two highly successful start-ups.

Glen Manchester founded Thunderhead in 2001 with the proceeds that he pocketed from selling his first business – a document company called Geneva Digital.

His insight was that big organisations were generating lots of customer documents – such as insurance policies, mortgage claims or benefits claims – that required extensive programming in order to personalise them. Trouble was, software was scarcely flavour of the month in the wake of the dot-com crash.

Manchester persisted, finding a particularly lucrative gap in the over-the-counter derivative trading of the investment banks. Traditionally averse to buying packaged software, Manchester convinced Deutsche Bank in 2004 and rapidly became the largest supplier of derivative trade processing software in the world.

And he isn’t fazed by the turmoil in the financial markets. So far, his 50 per cent growth projections for this year are on track. One reason is because Manchester is one of those rare British technology entrepreneurs – one who has gone into the US market fast and with big impact. "I like competing in America,” he says. “I’m rather proud of taking our technology there and making an impact. It’s a very motivating factor for our British team."

Manchester tells us he didn’t have anything prepared. Sure…!

“Recession creates necessity and necessity is the mother of all invention. We were formed in a technology recession post the dot-com burst in 2001," he says.

“I was unemployable, I took it upon myself to form my company. As a result of that, we’ve sold our technology all over the world.

“I think it goes to show that UK companies can be the best in the world.

“I’d like to say thank you very much, I’m deeply honoured to win this award. I’m truly delighted.”

Thank YOU, Glen Manchester.

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