This year marks the publication of the sixth annual edition of London Stock Exchange Group’s (LSEG) 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report
One of the most widely tracked reports of its kind, it has proudly identified the UK’s fastest-growing businesses since 2013 and helped to showcase the entrepreneurial drive possessed by the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The purely data-driven report also continues to examine, in detail, the opportunities and challenges facing SMEs, while looking at the sectors and trends that are projected to shape the future of the British and European economies.
As has been the case with its predecessors, the 2019 edition of the report showcases the depth and breadth of high-growth British businesses across all sectors. This year, over two-thirds of the companies listed appear for the very first time, while a number are welcomed back as they continue to thrive, including six making their fifth consecutive appearance. “One of the first things that stands out from the report is that overall revenue growth of the companies featured was 108 per cent, which we believe is a real cause for celebration,” begins Marcus Stuttard, LSEG’s Head of UK Primary Markets and AIM.
“It is also a hugely positive thing that growth is occurring across multiple regions, with companies across the North East of England, Wales and Northern Ireland recording the biggest increase in representation from last year’s report,” Marcus continues. “What this is showing us is that there is an increasing number of clusters of knowledge, expertise and support forming all around Britain, and these are helping produce, incubate and facilitate the growth of a wide variety of successful businesses. It also means that these businesses are able to benefit from the help of readily available support mechanisms and peer groups as they embark on their own journey.”
The top five industries represented by the 1000 companies within this years’ report – accounting for 44 per cent of the list – are manufacturing, engineering and construction, information technology, retail and healthcare. “With this particular statistic, what shines through is the continued strength of multiple 35sectors and level of the diversity that we see in the report,” Marcus explains. “In the case of manufacturing and engineering companies for instance, a 2018 report from Engineering UK states that the sector helped generate approximately £1.23 trillion of the UK’s total turnover, the scale of which shocked even me. Meanwhile, in the food industry, some 97 per cent of the companies documented would be classed as SMEs, which is a real barometer of the appetite that consumers today have for placing their trust in not only big brand names, but also innovative, artisanal businesses.”
What also appeals greatly to Marcus when reading the 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2019 report, is how it drills down into how the companies featured have successfully managed to scale up their respective operations, and in turn contributed to job creation and, ultimately, Britain’s GDP. Companies in this year’s report are believed to have created 95,827 jobs over the past two-year period alone, a 39 per cent increase compared to the 2018 edition. “The above numbers provide great confidence and optimism that not only are we a nation that is excellent at starting businesses, but that we have the conditions present to allow those businesses to scale up to a higher tier,” Marcus declares.
Ensuring that companies with such high-growth potential as those featured within the 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2019 report can continue to grow, innovate and create jobs, of course requires access to finance, and one of the UK’s great strengths is the wide variety of finance available. What can be a barrier to this, however, is a lack of awareness of the options available, and among the other things that the LSEG endeavours to do is ensure that companies are aware of these, and provide access to both financial and non-financial support for their development.
One of the ways in which it facilitates the above is through ELITE, its specially devised platform and ecosystem for private high-growth companies that provides business support, mentoring and access to finance companies need to scale up their businesses. Since 2015, more than 180 UK companies have joined ELITE, and 2019 also marked the launch of ELITE Scotland, with a tailored offering and network for the country. “ELITE has very much become a community – underpinned by a platform – where the broadest group of people that truly understand the requirements of scaling up businesses can come together to provide finance, guidance, insight and wisdom to the next generation of business owners,” Marcus states. “What ELITE does is provide a valuable environment in which these owners can engage with their peers, address the challenges they face and, ultimately, apply what they have learnt in order to accelerate the growth of their own businesses.”
At the various launch events for the 2019 edition of the 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report, Marcus was also very encouraged by the level of interest business owners displayed in gaining more information about the IPO process and the possibility of raising capital on AIM. “AIM has become a vital source of capital for growing businesses in the UK, and has helped to provide those admitted to it with all the benefits of being a public company, whether that be access to capital, higher visibility, greater credibility or increased transparency, all of which can aid in the winning of new business,” he adds. “AIM today boasts a large range of companies – with over 40 sectors represented – and this show of diversity, much like that within the 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2019 report, provides huge comfort for what the future holds for UK businesses.”