May 15, 2018

'1000 Companies to Inspire Britain' report shows SMEs are vital to economic growth

  • Fifth edition of London Stock Exchange Group’s annual report identifies UK’s fastest-growing and most dynamic SMEs
  • SMEs in the report  growing at 71% on average
  • One third of businesses in the report come from the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine regions
  • Top two sectors featured in the report are Engineering & Construction and IT

Today, London Stock Exchange Group launches the fifth annual edition of its ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report, identifying the UK’s most dynamic and fastest growing Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). 

The publication of the report was celebrated by the opening of the London market with The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP Chancellor of the Exchequer; David Warren, Interim CEO and Group CFO, London Stock Exchange Group;  Nikhil Rathi, CEO, London Stock Exchange Plc; and more than 50 company CEOs featured in the report. It was followed by a panel discussion on supporting SMEs to access finance for continued growth.

This year’s report in numbers:

  • Companies’ revenue growing at an exceptional average rate of 71% on average, continuing previous year’s rate of 70%, despite strong economic headwinds
  • All UK regions represented, with 60% of companies from outside London and the South East
  • 34% of companies are from the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine regions
  • Companies in the North West are the fastest growing with 232% annual average revenue growth
  • Report features companies in both traditional industries and more recent economic success stories; largest sector represented is Engineering and Construction with 132 companies, followed by Information Technology with 72 companies
  • Financial Services is one of the fastest growing sectors with an average annual revenue growth rate of more than 461%, followed by Engineering and Construction at 109%
  • Five companies have featured in the ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report series over the past five years

The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer:
“Small businesses are the backbone of the British economy with a combined annual turnover of £1.9 trillion and employ 60% of private sector workers outside of London. That’s why, whether they are family run firms or tech start-ups, we are supporting high growth SMEs to achieve their potential.”

David Warren, Interim CEO and Group CFO, London Stock Exchange Group:
“1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2018 clearly illustrates the economic potential of the UK’s SMEs and underlines the diversity and resilience of these businesses. Their geographical and sector variety lays the foundation for a diverse and balanced economy, enabling the skills and entrepreneurship of many thousands of people to flourish.

“Our role and that of the Government and the financial ecosystem is to ensure that high-growth businesses receive support to realise their growth potential. This not only benefits the companies, but the UK economy as a whole, by creating the jobs of tomorrow.

“At London Stock Exchange Group, we are particularly focused on ensuring these businesses receive access to finance to fuel their growth. This report is part of LSEG’s broader support for global high growth companies, including our business support and capital raising programme, ELITE, and our leading international growth market, AIM.”

Stephen Welton, CEO, BGF:
“The 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report serves as a reminder of the talent and ambition that exists amongst SMEs in the UK. This is BGF’s fourth year as sponsors and, I’m delighted to say, the third year we have featured as one of the 1000 Companies ourselves.

“This year, BGF received its own recognition when we became the first investment company to be honored for Innovation in the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. Our long-term equity investments are helping more and more growing companies scale-up into the big businesses of tomorrow, with many featuring on this year’s list: including Castleton Technology plc, Hawk Group, Johnsons Aggregates, Medigold Health, PPS, Renal Services, Satellite Solutions Worldwide and The Coaching Inn Group. Warmest congratulations to every company listed.”

Keith Morgan, CEO, British Business Bank:
“It’s great to see that our programmes have helped many of the featured businesses along the road to success.

“Following last year’s budget that provided the British Business Bank with an additional £2.5 billion of new resources, we look forward to supporting even more businesses achieve their full potential. We will do so by developing new initiatives aimed at unlocking around £13bn of long-term investment in innovative companies across the UK led by ambitious entrepreneurs who want to build successful, world-class businesses.”

Julian Morse, Head of Growth Companies, Cenkos:
“Growth companies and their associated entrepreneurs are the ‘engine room’ of the UK economy.  We, at Cenkos, are proud to be associated with such innovative and trail blazing businesses. Cenkos’ Growth Companies Team specialises in successfully marrying growth capital with UK growth companies.”

The report series continues to receive cross-party support from leading politicians including The Rt Hon Theresa May MP, The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, The Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP, The First Minister of Scotland, and Jonathan Reynolds MP, Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury, all of whom contributed commentary to the report.

A full searchable database of all of the companies along with a downloadable pdf of the publication can be found online at

The report is generously supported by BGF, Cenkos and the British Business Bank. DueDil is LSEG’s research partner for the report.

Links to infographics can be found here: UK Snapshot and Crunching the Numbers

Notes to editors:

About the 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report:

To identify the 1,000 companies, financial technology company DueDil combined key financial performance indicators and sector benchmarks.

Company status
Companies must be active and registered in the UK. Companies whose parent is incorporated in a foreign country are excluded, except for specific tax shelters. Ltd, PLC and LLP entities are all considered. Investment vehicles and funds are excluded, as are charities and non-profit organisations.

Size and age
Independent company or consolidated group revenues must be between £6m-£250m, based on latest Companies House filings. Companies are excluded that have been incorporated within the past three years.

Financial performance
Each company’s average annual turnover growth rate is calculated over a three-year period (based on four sets of accounts, where four sets of accounts are available). The calculations are weighted to favour latest-year growth. Any company with over 20 per cent deterioration in net assets over a three-year period is excluded.

Sector benchmarking
Having identified the long list, the eligible companies are then separated into their Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) grouping. Within each SIC sector, the companies are ranked by their individual growth rate; and those that have most outperformed their sector averages are identified.

Household names include:

  • Food & beverage: Charlie Bigham’s, Leon Restaurants and Radnor Hills
  • Retail: Oliver Bonas, Rapha Racing and Rosewood Pet Products 
  • Leisure: Everyman, Secret Escapes and Yorkshire Wildlife Park

About LSEG

LSEG (London Stock Exchange Group) is a leading global financial markets infrastructure and data provider, playing a vital social and economic role in the world’s financial system.

With our open approach, trusted expertise and global scale, we enable the sustainable growth and stability of our customers and their communities. We are dedicated partners with extensive experience, deep knowledge and a worldwide presence in data and analytics; indices; capital formation; and trade execution, clearing and risk management across multiple asset classes. 

LSEG is headquartered in the United Kingdom, with significant operations in 70 countries across EMEA, North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific. We employ 23,000 people globally, more than half located in Asia Pacific. LSEG’s ticker symbol is LSEG.


Alex Ritterman
Ester Russom
+44 (0)20 7797 1222