Scots firms leading the way in study of inspirational SMEs

Among those singled out are Skyscanner, the Edinburgh-based travel search engine. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Among those singled out are Skyscanner, the Edinburgh-based travel search engine. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Nearly eight in ten of the fastest growing small and medium-sized companies in Britain have headquarters outside London and firms north of the Border are leading the charge, research today reveals.

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) Group’s “1,000 Companies To Inspire Britain” study found that firms are expanding at an average of 50 per cent a year, while 78 per cent of the most rapidly growing businesses are based outside the English capital.

Scottish companies are the fastest growing, clocking up 83 per cent annual average revenue growth, according to the analysis. Among those singled out are Skyscanner, the Edinburgh-based travel search engine, Ellon-based brewer and bar operator BrewDog and Rovop, an Aberdeenshire company specialising in deep sea robotics.

Outside London, Greater Manchester was found to be home to the greatest number of those inspirational companies, at 36, with Leeds and Aberdeenshire next on 16 each. Seven are from Edinburgh.

Xavier Rolet, chief executive of the LSE 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.”

Other Scottish businesses out of the 56 indigenous firms featured in the study include Ayrshire forestry and logging outfit Jim Wilmer & Sons, Glasgow-based precision metal engineer Q-Mass and Fort William’s The Underwater Centre, which provides diving tuition.

Writing in the report, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “This publication champions some of the most dynamic and ambitious companies in the UK.

“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that firms of this ilk – firms with aspirations to grow, innovate and create jobs – can thrive in Scotland.”

Across Britain, the information technology sector was the top performing area, enjoying 350 per cent growth between 2010-14. Some 147 companies made the list again following last year’s report. However, just 13.5 per cent of the directors across the 1,000 firms are women.

Chancellor George Osborne said: “UK high-growth businesses are leading the charge in rebuilding our economy. These companies are the backbone of the British 
economy.”