London Stock Exchange's '1000 Companies to Inspire Britain' report shows continued strengths of UK SMEs

London Stock Exchange's '1000 Companies to Inspire Britain' report shows continued strengths of UK SMEs

  • Identifies fastest-growing and most dynamic small and medium sized businesses across the UK
  • 1000 UK companies highlighted are expanding at an average of 50 per cent a year      
  • Sector and regional diversity continues to increase
  • The Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP joins 40 company CEOs to open trading in London
  • Report receives cross-party support and backing of UK’s major business bodies

The report in numbers:

  • Fast-growing companies are appearing in all regions of the UK, with 78 per cent headquartered outside London
  • The companies are growing at an average of 50 per cent a year
  • Beyond Greater London with 217 companies, Greater Manchester is a stand out city with 36 companies, followed by Leeds and Aberdeen, home to 16 companies each
  • Wales and Northern Ireland’s SMEs are thriving with 25 more companies, compared to 2015’s report
  • Scottish companies are fastest growing with 83 per cent annual average revenue growth
    • Almost 25 per cent of the companies are from the construction, engineering and manufacturing sectors, demonstrating those industries’ ability to adapt and succeed despite challenging headwinds
    • Engineering & construction firms include A&B Engineering (involved in Liverpool’s Albert Dock development) and Clugston Group (construction partners on Harrogate’s new exhibition hall).
    • Sector diversity continues to be strong - Food & Drink, IT and Retail companies remain exceptionally well represented
    • There are 17 per cent more Food & Drink companies compared to last year, an indication of increased consumer spending
    • Real Estate is one of the fastest growing sectors with an average annual revenue growth rate of 123 per cent. Company names include Zoopla, Great Portland Estates and Belvoir Lettings 
    • Financial services firms also continue to grow rapidly, at an average annual revenue growth rate of 82 per cent

Today, more than 40 company CEOs featured in the report opened the London market together with Xavier Rolet, CEO, London Stock Exchange Group and the Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Writing in the publication, The Rt. Hon. George Osborne MP said:
“UK high-growth businesses are leading the charge in rebuilding our economy. These companies are the backbone of the British economy. They create high-quality, well paid jobs, innovate and drive economic growth. This government fully understands the need to support ambitious entrepreneurs and ensure they can access the finance they need to grow.

“We have held the steadfast belief that – alongside deficit reduction – nurturing entrepreneurs, creating jobs, supporting hard-working families and keeping taxes low would get the UK economy back on track. Our measures to increase access to finance for business and encourage more investment have had a transformative effect on our economy.”

The Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills said:
“From the Midlands Engine to the Granite City of Aberdeen, these 1,000 companies are bringing opportunity and prosperity to every corner of the UK and it is right that we celebrate their success. The Government will continue to back hard working entrepreneurs. That’s why we are cutting more red tape, boosting access to finance and reducing corporation tax.”

Xavier Rolet, Chief Executive, London Stock Exchange Group said:
“High growth SMEs are the driving force behind the UK economy, developing the skills, jobs and growth we need. But ambition alone is not enough; their success must be highlighted and their growth properly supported with appropriate finance. That’s why today’s event is so important: demonstrating the strong alliance between UK Government, financial market participants, investors, entrepreneurs and companies to support these inspiring businesses.

“Today’s celebration is fundamental to London Stock Exchange’s core, the need to support UK high growth companies in their journeys from Start-up to Stardom and create an entrepreneurship revolution.”

LSEG’s “1000 Companies to Inspire Britain” report series continues to receive cross-party support from leading politicians including The Rt. Hon. George Osborne MP, The Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Angela Eagle MP, Shadow First Secretary of State, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and the Economy.

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 supported by HSBC, Business Growth Fund and Cenkos Securities plc. DueDil was LSEG’s research partner for the report.

Amanda Murphy, UK Head of Corporate Banking, HSBC:
“Backing fast-growing, dynamic British businesses like those highlighted in this report, is vital to HSBC. We want to lend more to British businesses and in May last year, we announced a national £8 billion SME lending fund made available to support businesses across the country. UK brands are loved and respected around the world for their quality and innovation and plenty of these high-growth UK businesses already sell their products and services beyond Britain’s borders.

“With our unrivalled international network giving us a presence in 60 markets around the world, we can help guide businesses as they seek to explore opportunities overseas. We support more than 1 million businesses in the UK alone, with many of Britain’s best and most innovative sectors and businesses based outside London, each of which are essential to the UK economy."

Stephen Welton, CEO, Business Growth Fund:
"The last five years have seen an unprecedented growth in the number of new companies established in the UK and we have now surpassed the rate at which even the US creates start-ups. Ambition most definitely does exist here in Britain which is something we must keep celebrating and supporting through active help and long term funding. That is how we will turn more of these fast growing businesses into tomorrow’s scale-ups.

“Now in its third year, London Stock Exchange’s 1000 Companies is rapidly becoming one of the most exciting ways to identify and applaud Britain’s brightest entrepreneurial talent. Not only are we very proud to continue to support this, but we are also delighted that BGF itself now features in this year’s list alongside so many businesses that we have invested in, met with and admire.”

Jim Durkin, Chief Executive Officer, Cenkos Securities plc: 
“We are delighted to be sponsoring this report for the third time. We are excited by the diversity and track record of the companies identified. Access to capital together with entrepreneurial talent is the most important enabler of growth. Cenkos is committed to bring together capital and enterprise and to play an ongoing role in supporting growth companies to achieve their goals. We continue to see investor support for promising businesses. In 2015 Cenkos raised in excess of £3 billion for its clients reaching a total of c. £15 billion since inception in 2005. We are proud to have contributed to the success of some of the companies highlighted in London Stock Exchange’s report and look forward to supporting many more.” 

Justin Fitzpatrick, CO-founder & COO, DueDil:
“DueDil is already the most comprehensive source of company intelligence in the UK and Ireland. We knew our data would tell an interesting story about the inspiring businesses and entrepreneurs who are leading drivers of growth in our economy. This report shows why the UK is such a great place to start and scale a business. It is our mission to make this insight more accessible, and be a major contributor to this growth in the UK and globally.”

Further support and contributions from leading business bodies in the UK include British Banker’s Association, British Chambers of Commerce, British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, Business Angels Association, CBI, EEF The Manufacturers’ Organisation, Federation of Small Businesses, Institute of Directors, Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Quoted Companies Alliance and the Scale-Up Institute.

 - Ends -

 For further information: 



Tom Gilbert

Ed Clark

Alex Ritterman

+44 (0)20 7797 1222


About the 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report: 

Stand-out cities and regions:

  • 217 companies from Greater London
  • 148 from the South East
  • 101 from the North West
  • 89 from East of England
  • 80 from the West Midlands
  • 79 from Yorkshire & The Humber
  • 56 from Scotland
  • 36 from Greater Manchester
  • 29 from Lancashire


Household names:

Media & Tech: Everyman Cinemas, Framestore (design studio behind blockbuster Gravity), Skyscanner, Zoopla Property Group
Retail:  Pretty Green (Liam Gallagher’s clothing brand), Sweaty Betty, Timpson
Food & Drink: Brewdog, Higgidy (pie makers), Maldon Crystal Salt Company, The Boston Tea Party Group, Japan Centre

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 (i.e. after 1 November 2012).

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.

About London Stock Exchange Group:

London Stock Exchange Group (LSE.L) is an international markets infrastructure business. Its diversified global business focuses on capital formation, intellectual property and risk and balance sheet management. LSEG operates an open access model, offering choice and partnership to customers across all of its businesses. The Group can trace its history back to 1698.

The Group operates a broad range of international equity, ETF, bond and derivatives markets, including London Stock Exchange; Borsa Italiana; MTS (Europe's leading fixed income market); and Turquoise (a pan-European equities MTF). Through its platforms, LSEG offers market participants, including retail investors, institutions and SMEs unrivalled access to Europe’s capital markets. The Group also plays a vital economic and social role, enabling companies to access funds for growth and development.

Through FTSE Russell, the Group is a global leader in financial indexing, benchmarking and analytic services with approximately $10 trillion benchmarked to its indexes. The Group also provides customers with an extensive range of

real time and reference data products, including SEDOL, UnaVista, and RNS.

Post trade and risk management services are a significant part of the Group’s business operations. In addition to majority ownership of LCH.Clearnet Group, a multi-asset global CCP operator, LSEG owns CC&G, the Italian clearing house; Monte Titoli, a leading European custody and settlement business; and globeSettle, the Group’s CSD based in Luxembourg.

LSEG is a leading developer and operator of high performance technology solutions, including trading, market surveillance and post trade systems for over 40 organisations and exchanges, including the Group’s own markets. Additional services include network connectivity, hosting and quality assurance testing. MillenniumIT, GATElab and Exactpro are among the Group’s technology companies.

Headquartered in the United Kingdom, with significant operations in North America, Italy, France and Sri Lanka, the Group employs approximately 4,700 people.