Health and public services

If you’re on the lookout for a boom sector, read on. By 2025, more than  a third of the UK’s population will be over 55. Caring for the elderly is a sure-fire money-spinner.

Phil Burgan is one entrepreneur who is tapping into the grey pound. He set up Maria Mallaband Care Group (62nd) in 1996 and has turned it into one of the country’s biggest providers of care for the elderly and mentally ill, with sales just shy of £18m. His Leeds-based firm, which he named after his grandmother, now has 34 care homes dotted across the country.

If you think care homes have had a rotten deal in the press lately, the NHS takes the biscuit, with horror stories about ridiculously long waiting times and health record mix-ups. Step in CSW Group (83rd). This Oxford-based company, founded by John Chelsom in 1989, is doing its bit to sort the NHS out.

Working in partnership with tech giants such as BT and Logica, CSW Group develops “cradle to grave” health record systems. The business brings in sales of £8.2m and Chelsom reckons the firm will hit the £20m mark in the next two years.

Consultancy firm WCL (3rd) is also thriving in this sector, with a stonking 201 per cent growth over the past four years. Kieron White started the company with £15,000 of savings. Now the firm turns over £6.2m, with 95 per cent of its clients in the public sector. No doubt TV chef Jamie Oliver is a fan of the company: it was WCL who advised the Department for Education and Skills on how best to spend its £280m budget on improving school meals.

Archer-Hoblin Group (89th) works with public-sector organisations but in an entirely different field. This £8.3m-turnover company specialises in affordable new-build housing and local regeneration projects for borough councils.

Contractors T&K Gallagher (76th) also works with local authorities, servicing water and gas infrastructure projects across the UK. This Manchester-based firm turns over £25m – not bad for a company that hasn’t yet hit its eighth birthday.

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