London Stock Exchange launches ELITE programme for high growth companies

London Stock Exchange launches ELITE programme for high growth companies

  • An initiative for ambitious, high growth private businesses
  • First 19 ELITE companies unveiled today – drawn from across the UK and a wide variety of sectors 
  • Two year programme for founders and CEOs to help develop their businesses and readiness for investment
  • Support from over 40 corporate advisory and investment partners 
  • Builds on success of ELITE Italy programme launched in 2012

London Stock Exchange today launches ELITE, an innovative business support programme for high growth private UK companies. Matthew Hancock, MP, Skills and Enterprise Minister launched the inaugural event and welcomed the first 19 ELITE company CEOs to the scheme. The event took place at Imperial College, hosted by Xavier Rolet, CEO of London Stock Exchange Group and Professor G. ‘Anand’ Anandalingam, Dean of Imperial College Business School.

The 24-month ELITE programme will provide companies’ founders, CEOs and executive teams with a tailored portfolio of business support tools, education services provided by Imperial College Business School and access to a select group advisers and investors. Major trade body supporters include the CBI, ABI, BBAA, BVCA and Tech City (full list below). In addition, companies will have access to the programme’s ELITE Entrepreneurial Fellow, Sean Phelan, founder of Mulitmap and angel investor.

As part of their journey through ELITE, management teams will be guided on how to adapt and shape their businesses for further long-term growth and how to increase their visibility and attractiveness to potential investors.

About the companies
ELITE is for a select group of UK companies that are revenue generating and rapidly growing. The first cohort of companies showcases the UK’s ability to produce great businesses across numerous sectors and across the country. The first cohort includes manufacturing, technology, healthcare, retail and media businesses. Of the 19 companies joining today, 13 are from outside London, including two from Scotland. As the initiative develops, multiple cohorts are expected to join every year.

Matthew Hancock MP, Skills and Enterprise Minister said:
"Innovative, imaginative and inspiring small businesses are essential for the British economy and it is part of the Government's long term economic plan to ensure that they have the right environment to grow. Programmes such as ELITE that offer access to high quality education, advice and support will help businesses scale up in the right way."

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson, said:
“Small and medium sized businesses are the lifeblood of London’s economy providing employment for over 50 per cent of working Londoners. It’s vital that ambitious young companies are supported as they grow so I warmly welcome the launch of ELITE, which is set to provide practical help and advice.”

Xavier Rolet, CEO, London Stock Exchange Group, said:
“Having witnessed the success of the ELITE programme at Borsa Italiana, we believe that the environment in the UK is ripe for a similar programme to support high growth businesses. Innovative businesses are often the most ambitious companies, but to get ahead they need new resources, new relationships and new funding which many businesses find challenging or time consuming to access.

“ELITE will provide high growth companies with the essential tools they need to develop and help foster a connected financial ecosystem, promoting the right type of funding for businesses at each stage of their journey. 

“We firmly believe that these companies will fuel the long-term growth of the UK economy, and that ELITE is a unique platform to help them achieve their full potential.”

Professor G ‘Anand’ Anandalingam, Dean of Imperial College Business School, said:
“SMEs are fast becoming the key drivers of growth within the UK economy. This partnership with London Stock Exchange will enable us to share Imperial’s academic expertise with the founders and executives on the frontline of business innovation. We look forward to helping equip the first ELITE company CEOs with the tools they need to take their businesses to the next level.” 

ELITE has already achieved success in Italy where the programme was launched in 2012. To date, over 130 companies have participated in the programme, with several companies having raised private investment and others now looking at potential stock market or mini bond listings and actively engaging in funding talks with Private Equity and Venture Capital firms. 

Details of first cohort  








Software platform to optimise customer   experience for retail businesses

Brief   Your Market



Multi channel e-marketing platform



Industrial G&S

Manufacturer of signal processing   components for wireless applications

Company   Shop Ltd



Provider of surplus stock solutions to leading   food and supermarket brand owners




Provider of biology services to   companies involved in the discovery and development of new drugs to treat   infection, respiratory diseases and allergies.



Food & Beverage

Online food producer and retailer for   healthy snacking




Managed IT services and hybrid cloud   solutions

Kitwave   One Limited (and subsidiaries)

North Shields


Wholesaler of confectionary



Online retailer of veterinary products   and pet supplies

MoneyDashboard.   The One Place Capital Limited



Personal finance software provider

Naked   Wines



Online wine retailer

Postcode   Anywhere (Europe) Limited



Software provider of address management   and location services

Secret   Sales Ltd



Online fashion retailer

TestPlant Ltd



Software testing applications and   solutions provider




Developer of regenerative medicine

Unruly   Media



A global platform for social video   marketing

Van Elle


Industrial G&S

A leading geotechnical, piling and   foundation engineering contractor

Further commentary from ELITE partners:

Robert Hingley, Director of Investment Affairs, ABI
"ABI members as institutional investors have a strong interest in ensuring the continued health of UK capital markets, including a flow of high quality companies to the market. We particularly encourage early engagement between companies as part of building a solid investment case. ELITE offers a unique platform to support the introduction to capital markets of some of UK's most promising companies."

Tim Hames, Director General, BVCA
A thriving and interdependent ecosystem of growth companies, advisers, academia and market infrastructure is essential for the private equity and venture capital industry. LSEG’s ELITE programme will be an excellent addition to the marketplace in helping businesses understand, aspire to and access the greatest possible range of growth financing opportunities, including venture capital, private equity and the public markets, as well as improving exit routes for existing portfolio companies.

Sean Phelan, Elite Entrepreneurial Fellow
“As an entrepreneur and investor in early stage, high growth businesses, I know only too well the challenges that ambitious companies can face as they develop beyond start-up status. The ELITE programme will be of huge benefit to these companies providing them with not just world-class advisors and partners, but a community of like-minded businesses and CEOs. As ELITE’s Entrepreneurial Fellow, I’m looking forward to sharing my own experiences with the companies and to learning alongside them.”

Tim Ward, Chief Executive, The Quoted Companies Alliance
"The ELITE programme is a welcome initiative by the London Stock Exchange to enable the engines of growth in the UK to learn more about the equity markets, the funding options available to them and the ways of the investment community. We congratulate the Exchange on the launch of this programme and believe that this will help companies kickstart their growth plans."

Joanna Shields, Chairman, Tech City UK
“ELITE will play a vital role in the development of high quality tech and digital companies in the UK, equipping firms with the confidence, networks and education they need combined with access to the widest possible range of funding opportunities so they can reach their full potential. More start ups successfully achieving global scale will have a galvanising impact on innovation culture in UK, encouraging more people to imagine, start and build their businesses. ELITE will further raise the profile of the tech sector amongst professional investors, helping to build essential sector expertise to compete with the pull of the US markets and ensure that British firms create high quality jobs here in the UK.”

Nigel Walker, Technology Strategy Board
“Innovation is often the key to unlocking growth potential for ambitious businesses and at the Technology Strategy Board we are keen to offer support in order to help drive them and the UK economy forward. We frequently see that the technology-led businesses that we support also need assistance in developing their broader business capabilities and connecting with suitable sources of finance and so we are pleased that the ELITE programme offers a tailored programme to help achieve this.”

Jenny Tooth, CEO, UK Business Angels Association
"UK Business Angels Association is pleased to support the new ELITE Programme. This will offer angel backed businesses with high growth potential the opportunity to gain new insights and expert support to take their business to the next level and increase their opportunity to access the next stage of growth capital. We are keen to ensure that business angels and their portfolio businesses can engage with this exciting programme.” 

- ends -

For further information:

Tom Gilbert               +44 (0)20 7797 1222

Notes to editors:

How ELITE works
ELITE aims to enhance the growth prospects of companies through a unique three stage package including education, business support, coaching and access to advisers, investors and business leaders:

Stage 1
A comprehensive training programme, delivered by London Stock Exchange and Imperial College Business School, to stimulate organisational review and change.

Stage 2
Companies reflect on specific issuers and plan for change with the support and guidance of Imperial College Business School, the Exchange and external advisers.

Stage 3
Companies capitalise on the benefits of the first two phases to support the development of new business opportunities and to prepare for access to a broader set of investors.

How does a company join ELITE?
Companies have to apply to London Stock Exchange to join ELITE. Applicants must demonstrate they are revenue generating with a strong historic growth track record. They must also demonstrate their commitment at the most senior level to join and benefit from ELITE over the 24 month period.

ELITE Entrepreneurial Fellow
Sean Phelan, Founder of, is an established personality in the high technology and new media arena, and a pioneer in online services. Sean started as a bootstrap start-up in his spare bedroom in 1995 and built it into one of the 10 most popular British web services, with revenues of £12M and profits of £1M. In December 2007 the company was acquired by Microsoft, cementing its position in the ranks of Britain’s internet success stories. Sean is now an angel investor in 17 UK start-ups, and an advisor and mentor to many more.

ELITE partners 

Roger Barb, Managing Director, Citi Corporate & Investment Banking
“The ELITE programme is a fantastic initiative for fostering UK champions of the future and Citi is proud to have the opportunity to support the programme and its participants. As a leading global bank for both institutions and individuals, we thrive on working with and developing talented people and organisations. We look forward to making a meaningful contribution to helping participants through the next stages of their evolution.”

Philip Secrett, Partner, Head of Public Company Advisory, Grant Thornton
“We are delighted to support the ELITE programme which is very much aligned to our values and experience in advising dynamic businesses on their growth ambitions.”

Mark Austin, Partner at Freshfields
“We are delighted to be able to support ambitious companies by being an ELITE partner. We look forward to sharing our expertise and assisting them to develop and achieve their long-term goals through practical help and advice.”

Chilton Taylor, Partner, Baker Tilly
“Growing companies not only need to be suitable but be prepared in order to attract equity finance whether from private equity on capital markets. Baker Tilly is delighted to be part of this initiative which will help prepare high growth companies to attract such finance, assist them to continue their growth path and also act appropriately to a wider shareholder base”.

Rupert Weston, Partner, Burges Salmon LLP
“Burges Salmon is committed to supporting growth businesses and our participation in the ELITE programme is a fantastic opportunity for us to deliver their support.”

Andy Crossley, Head of Corporate Sales, Peel Hunt
“Peel Hunt works with growing businesses and supports the ELITE programme as it prepares young businesses for the quoted markets.”

Alex Macpherson, Head of Ventures at Octopus Investments
“ELITE aims to support some of the country’s top entrepreneurial talent by providing access to business leaders across the investor and corporate advisory communities, as well as hands on training and coaching. The London Stock Exchange is in a unique position to deliver this programme and Octopus looks forward to supporting the initiative in our capacity as an ELITE investor.”

Lesley Gregory, CEO, Memery Crystal
“We’re delighted to be part of ELITE, a very progressive LSE initiative, and look forward to supporting these ambitious enterprises as they address the challenges of international markets.”

Stephen Welton, CEO of Business Growth Fund
“We welcome the Elite programme as a much needed source of education, support and contacts for UK businesses with ambitions to grow. Growth is highly dependent on ambition, on innovation and on entrepreneurism – all qualities which should quite rightly be supported. In this endeavour, we have much in common with the Elite programme.”

David Collins, Head of Corporate, BLP Law
“We are proud to support the UK’s most ambitious growth companies as an ELITE partner. We look forward to working with them and providing the support and services to help them thrive.”

Clive Hopewell, Partner, Charles Russell
“We are proud and excited to be supporting ELITE. With our corporate and private capital expertise, we are ideally placed to support SME businesses from growth stages through to international brands.”

For further information on the programme, companies and partners, please refer to: