East Mids fastest-growing companies revealed

Alistair Goug, Ocee Design

Five East Midlands businesses have been named in an influential report which ranks Britain’s private companies with the fastest-growing sales.

Three Derbyshire firms and two from Northants make an appearance in the 21st annual Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 league table rankings. All East Midlands firms are making their first appearance in the tables.

New entrants include Northampton-based furniture manufacturer Ocee International. Chief executive Alistair Gough led a buyout in 2016, helped by £5.6m of funding from Barclays and £10m from growth capital firm BGF.

That same year, it purchased Denmark-based Four Design, Ocee’s manufacturing partner since 2012. Exports accounted for 55% of this year’s total sales of £33.5m.

Meanwhile, Derby-based healthcare services provider Bionical is the highest-ranked East Midlands firm at 46, with average sales growth over three years of 66%, while Derby apprentice training provider 3aaa comes in at 64 with annual turnover of £25.5m.

Chesterfield motor finance firm, Evolution Funding, is at 78 with 53% sales growth over the last three years.

Daventry automotive component manufacturer Red Arch completes the East Midlands contingent at 63 with 58% sales growth.

The Fast Track 100 is sponsored by Virgin, Barclays, BDO, BGF and Virgin Media Business, and is compiled by Fast Track, the Oxford-based research and networking events firm.

Sir Richard Branson of Virgin, the title sponsor for all 21 years, said: “Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the economy; driving innovation, creating jobs and challenging industry norms. The achievements of the companies on this year’s Fast Track 100 list are fantastic.

“It’s clear over the coming years UK business will have to adapt to different conditions and we must do all we can to support our entrepreneurs – who will be the engines of growth for Britain.”

This year’s Fast Track 100 achieved, on average, sales growth of 65% a year over three years to a total of £3.9bn. Together they employ 19,300 staff, having added 14,000 jobs over the period.

The dominant region for company HQs is London (34), followed by the southeast (16). Of the remainder, 13 companies are based in the Midlands, 11 in the northeast and Yorkshire, 11 in the northwest, five in Wales, three each in the East of England and southwest, and two each in Scotland and Northern Ireland.