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Meet the 14 Bristol companies ready to inspire Britain

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Written by: Gavin Thompson | Posted 22 February 2016 6:00

Meet the 14 Bristol companies ready to inspire Britain

The most inspiring companies in Bristol have been named in a report for the London Stock Exchange.

Among them are cafe chain Boston Tea Party, architecture practice Stride Tredglown and pensions specialist Curtis Banks.

The 14 Bristol firms are part of a bigger report entitled 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain, published today.

London Stock Exchange chief executive Xavier Rolet 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 this report is so important: demonstrating the strong alliance between UK Government, financial market participants, investors, entrepreneurs and companies to support these inspiring businesses.

“It 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.”

 


 

The 14 most Bristol companies to inspire Britain

Charles Saunders Holdings Limited, Food & beverage 

Curtis Banks Limited, Financial services 

Dancourt Plant Hire Limited, Rental & leasing 

Gas World Ltd, Engineering & Construction 

Gulliver's Truck Hire Limited, Transportation services 

King Lifting Limited, Engineering & Construction 

Lancer Scott Limited, Engineering & Construction 

Molson Group Ltd, Engineering & Construction 

Nasa Umbrella Ltd, Financial Services 

Nisbets Plc, Retail 

People Source Consulting Limited, Employment services 

Stride Treglown Group Plc, Architecture & Engineering 

The Boston Tea Party Group Limited, Food & beverage 

Wessex Garages Holdings Limited, Motor vehicle retail 

 


 

 

Case study: Curtis Banks

Rupert Curtis of Curtis Banks

Pictured: Rupert Curtis, chief executive of self invested personal pension provider Curtis Banks

Pensions firm Curtis Banks has taken a twin track approach, both growing its own sales and also buying pension books from elsewhere.

The Temple Quay-based firm is awaiting regulatory approval on its biggest deal to date, to buy Suffolk Life.

The deal will double the size of assets under its administration from £8 billion to £16 billion.

Chief executive Rupert Curtis said it won’t end there.

“For now our focus will be on bedding in Suffolk Life,” he said. “But we expect further organic growth and further acquisitions.”

Although the company was only founded in 2009, Rupert believes its experienced team has been crucial to its success.

Curtis Banks is clear about its market, focuses on the bigger clients with a service driven proposition - the opposite approach to that other great Bristol success story in self invested personal pensions, Hargreaves Lansdown, which appeals to the DIY investor.

The firm, which listed on the AIM last year, currently has 260 staff, but that will nearly double once the Suffolk Life deal is approved.

The report was backed by Business Secretary and Bristolian Sajid Javid.

He said: “These 1,000 companies are bringing opportunity and prosperity to every corner of the UK and it is right that we celebrate their success.”

Chancellor George Osborne, writing the foreword for the report, 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.”

 


 

Case study: Wessex Garages

Keith Brock Wessex Garages

Pictured: Keith Brock, managing director of Wessex Garages at the company's new showroom

Wessex Garages has car dealerships around Bristol, South Wales and Gloucestershire.

The firm recently invested in a new Nissan brand centre at Cribbs Causeway, just off the M5. The location was part of the desire to extend the customer base further into the South West.

Managing director Keith Brock explained the company’s strategy for growth.

“We make a bit, reinvest it, expand, make it bit, reinvest and so on,” he said.

“We have always been prudent. Opening our new Cribbs site has been a serious commitment for the business.

“It’s a brand new centre, which aside from the building costs, includes £1 million of stock and there’s always about £500,000 of working cash-flow in terms of debtors and creditors to the business. There’s all the fixtures and fittings too.

“That’s all been paid for from existing funds, so we’ve consistently re-invested into the business what we’ve earnt. This has allowed us to employ more people from the area too, which is good for everyone involved and the city as a whole.”

The company’s latest showroom is Nissan but it has dealerships with other makes elsewhere.

“We’ve consciously chosen to be associated with winning car brands that have shown great growth potential and have supported us,” said Keith. “For example Nissan had a 3 per cent share four years ago and now has 6 per cent. This prosperous brand alignment has definitely helped us move forward at a much greater pace.”

Keith believes there have been several key factors in the success.

He said: “Our successes are based, in the main, on the investments we’ve made in training our team and the high level of customer service we offer, the innovations we’ve embraced head-on, when perhaps our competitors have been slow to adopt them, and the continuity of directorial leadership we have.

“My board of directors all have nine or more years of service with the business and this helps us drive home a consistent message and strategy, whatever the economic environment throws at us.”

 


 

Sajid Javid

Pictured: Business Secretary Sajid Javid

The report was backed by Business Secretary and Bristolian Sajid Javid.

He said: “These 1,000 companies are bringing opportunity and prosperity to every corner of the UK and it is right that we celebrate their success.”

Chancellor George Osborne, writing the foreword for the report, 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.”

 

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