Allister Heath, The Telegraph
“The fact that we have lived in unpredictable times for much of the past decade hasn’t prevented an entrepreneurial revolution. In fact, times of adversity are good for innovators”
How times change. For the past few years, the big economic story was the aftermath of the financial crisis and our slow but increasingly steady recovery. Today, it is how we respond to the slowdown in emerging markets and a variety of geopolitical shocks – while simultaneously working out how to normalise monetary policy.
All of this is posing fresh challenges for the business world: turbulence in the stock market and increased risk premia is making it costlier to raise funds, and many boardrooms are growing wary of committing capital in an uncertain world.
But one of the notable facets of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular is their resilience in times of trouble. The fact that we have lived in unpredictable times for much of the past decade hasn’t prevented an entrepreneurial revolution. In fact, times of adversity are good for innovators, especially those with a knack for creating or exploiting technology, and for producing better goods and services more efficiently.
Britain’s high-growth Mittlestand isn’t just made up of new companies, of course: it includes many older firms that have either been rejuvenated or that have come into their own in recent years.
The companies featured in the 1000 are a testament to the resilience and inventiveness that the UK’s entrepreneurs have in spades. A diverse group of companies – from wholesalers to manufacturers, from retailers to exporters – here is the cream of the crop of Britain’s small and growing business sector, a crop which we are rightly celebrating.
Among the many highlights this year are BrewDog, Everyman Cinemas, Framestore, Higgidy pies, Just Eat, Go Ape, Zoopla, Timpson (whose owner John Timpson is a Daily Telegraph columnist), Chapel Down wines and Pretty Green (Liam Gallagher’s fashion business).
The Telegraph has a long and proud history of reporting on and engaging with the companies in this sector and, just as importantly, the entrepreneurs behind them. Although much of the reporting we and the rest of the media have engaged in since the crisis has focused on financial institutions and economies in crisis, it has often been in the SME world where the stories have been most memorable.
It is through reports such as this, and other events such as the annual Telegraph Festival of Business, held each November, that we celebrate fast-growing companies and the people who founded them.
I am sure you will join with me in congratulating all those who feature within the pages of this fascinating report and hope that you enjoy, as much as I have, reading about their success.