Mid-sized businesses based in London and the south-east account for almost a half (49 per cent) of the 2013 Investec Hot 100 list of the UK’s fastest-growing privately owned companies. This is up from 43 per cent in 2012.
Pictured, from left, are four companies from the Hot 100 at the 2013 Entrepreneurs’ Summit (Phil Doye, Kelway; Nigel Brown, Microlease; Carmen Carey, ControlCircle; Graham Sumeray, Fine & Rare Wines; and, from Spring Law, partner Rob Kinder).
The Hot 100 also demonstrates growing regional growth hubs elsewhere in the UK, in particular in the north-west (18 per cent), the strongest region outside of the south-east, and the Midlands (17 per cent). In 2013, three of the top five companies in the Hot 100 came from those two regions compared to 2012 where four of the top five companies were based in London. The north-west is also home to the top-rated company in the 2013 Hot 100, Potensial, a residential care service provider headquartered in Birkenhead, with a four-year compound annual growth rate of 146 per cent. Growth was also evident in other parts of the UK including the south-west (four per cent), north-east (four per cent), Wales (four per cent), Scotland (three per cent) and Northern Ireland (one per cent).
Now in its 15th year, the Hot 100 is an established and rigorous analysis of the UK’s fastest-growing mid-sized private companies. Devised using compound annual growth rates measured over a four-year period, it is an important source of insight into the UK heartland economy.
The companies that make up the Hot 100 have collectively achieved an average compound annual growth rate of 43 per cent over the past four years and an average turnover of almost £142m in their last financial year. A wide cross section of industry sectors are represented in the Hot 100 overall. As in previous years, IT services, technology and telecoms companies represent the largest sector of the Hot 100, at 15 per cent.
Furthermore, the 2013 Hot 100 highlights the increasing disappearance of traditional high-street retailers from among the UK’s high-growth businesses, being replaced by a new generation of online retailers.
Ed Cottrell of Investec says: “This year’s Investec Hot 100 clearly demonstrates the strength and breadth of entrepreneurial activity and business growth from companies that will continue to be the growth engine of the UK economy for many years to come. It is hugely encouraging to see growth coming from all corners of the UK.
“Critically, in a year where we have begun to see some green shoots of recovery, we have seen a less austere Hot 100 this year; a move away from more defensive industries such as gold traders and discount retailers that dominated the list in 2012 towards growth-oriented sectors and perhaps the more finer things in life?”
Matthew Rock of Real Business, the UK’s first magazine for entrepreneurs and SMEs, says: “The 2013 Investec Hot 100, published with Real Business, shows where current and future business opportunities lie. The fact that a third of companies listed were also in the 2012 list demonstrates that it is possible to achieve sustainable growth in the UK. These companies are keeping themselves relevant in an ever-changing marketplace. Most of all, they never lose sight of their customers, their marketplace and their own people.”
Light at the end of the tunnel?
Research conducted among a sample of 24 companies that featured in the Hot 100 included in the Hot 100 indicates a more optimistic outlook for their businesses and the overall economic climate over the next 12 months. 83 per cent of businesses expect the fortunes of the overall UK economic climate to greatly or slightly improve, while 83 per cent and 75 per cent respectively believe their revenues and operating profit will grow in the same time period. This can partly be attributed to international expansion, with over half (54 per cent) of companies targeting entry into new overseas markets, including emerging markets such as Latin America, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia, while two thirds (67 per cent) of companies already operate internationally.
This is also set to have positive implications for UK employment, with 75 per cent of entrepreneurs expecting to increase the number of full-time employees that they have on their workforce while half of the companies believe that access to a better skilled workforce would help them to grow over the next 12 months. A number of entrepreneurs highlighted that recruitment of high-skilled workers and growth of sales teams as the single biggest factor they attribute for their success over the past 12 months.
A large proportion of SME owners (79 per cent) believe that government policies to support UK growth companies are either extremely supportive or acceptable, although early access to financing, support in expansion of trading overseas and simplification of employment law are all highlighted as areas where more can be done to support SMEs further. While SME owners feel there is appropriate support from the Government, they do not believe that the same can be said of the wider UK public, with 83% indicating that the UK does not or should take more pride in the contribution of British business and entrepreneurship.
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