Their snapshot focuses on companies and partnerships with sales of between £5m and £500m. Many are growing quickly, others are doing so more slowly, often sustained over many years. It means young gazelles sit alongside long-established companies that have found new ways to grow.
The research was compiled with the help of NESTA, the innovation agency, which identified fast growing companies, and business information specialist Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), which verified our information.
The Telegraph also polled more than a dozen membership organisations, such as the Institution of Chemical Engineers, the Chartered Insurance Institute, the Institute of Physics and the Royal Academy of Engineering as well as taking nominations from readers and conducting research of companies receiving peer acclaim.
The result is a snapshot of companies that collectively generate more than £50bn in sales that have operations across the UK and that have all shown resilience during the recession and stuttering recovery.
They range from Cheshire-based Bryom, whose software systems manage ticketing and accomodation for the FIFA World Cup and the Ryder Cup, to Jasminder Singh’s Edwardian Group, which manages Radisson Hotels in London and Manchester and saw profits double to £20.8m last year, to fast growing out-of-hours social enterprise Devon Doctors, owned by GP practices across the county.
Despite the gloom from some high profile retailers, Telegraph 1000 shop owners are proving as popular as ever. Luxury online clothing and household accessories firm The White Company saw profits double to £2.1m in the year to March, while Leeds-based Joe Browns saw margins in the year to June 2010 strengthen, generating a £3.8m profit.
Many companies recorded a tough trading year in 2009, reflecting the recession, but managed their way through and are now beginning to lodge much healthier accounts at Companies House. Engineering groups like Lincolnshire-based car exhausts group Hexadex, lost around a third of its group sales in 2009 to £62m, but recovered its top line to £79m in 2010 and is forecasting to do even better this year.
Individual construction firms have also prospered despite the perception that the whole sector has been hit hard. Ardmore Construction, for instance, saw sales of £214m in 2010, up from £173m the year before, and profits almost double to £4.1m. It expects further growth this year, with work in Stratford and Kew Bridge in London ensuring progress.
Large companies responded to Telegraph requests for recommendations of star performers in their supply chains. Mark Giltsoff at construction group Skanska singled out the Haley Group, based in East Brent, Somerset, for praise. “What impresses me about the Haley Group is their drive,” he said. “They are perpetually improving their business and innovating, all of which helps our business. Over the past 12 months they have contributed to the safety programme, environmental impact and cost targets of our construction projects.”
Like the Haley Group, many of the Telegraph 1000 are crucial cogs in the supply chains of even larger UK-owned groups, like The Marshalls Group, which has sales of close to £1bn and a heritage of more than 100 years, or Ricardo Engineering, which designed the OCELOT protected mobility vehicles for the British Army at its Shoreham factory.
Other companies are making investments in communities when larger groups move on. Just one example is family-owned Brace’s Bakery, whose roots date back to serving coal miners, which acquired the Newport bakery of national baker Warburtons in April for £3.6m, saving local jobs and driving its own expansion
Roger Hodson, UK managing director at D&B said: “D&B is proud to be contributing to The Telegraph’s initiative of identifying firms that are not just surviving, but thriving in the current economic climate.
“It is often too easy to concentrate on the negatives – increased business failures, reduced profits, weakened financial strength, lengthened payment terms – and forget that many companies in the UK have faced up to the challenges, and with nimble and brave thinking have put their businesses in a great position to seize the opportunities that exist out there.”
Geoff Mulgan, chief executive of NESTA, said the research behind the Telegraph 1000 should inform public policy designed to stimulate private enterprise. “The need to focus really rigorously on where jobs will come from, both nationally and locally, is more important than it was five years ago,” he said.
NESTA has published analysis of the UK cities where high growth companies are based here.
The vast majority of Telegraph 1000 companies make sales of between £5m to £500m, although some are included below that sales range so we can highlight promising early stage technology companies. We prioritised privately owned, or AIM listed companies but a handful are foreign owned, reflecting the UK's open economy.
Most companies increased sales and employment during 2009/2010 or 2010/2011, but some did not, reflecting the impact of the recession and historic accounts.
Every effort has been made to ensure the 1,000 is an accurate reflection of the companies’ performance and activities. The entries and figures were vetted by Dun & Bradstreet. Some turnover figures may reflect a trading period that is shorter or longer than a traditional 12 month period. The latest available accounts to August were used.