Editor's View

Companies to watch

Sep 07 issue

This year’s 50 Rising Stars have combined sales of just over £645 million and profits of nearly £100 million. It’s a broad selection too, in which companies making a packet from the booming care sector are shoulder to shoulder with retailers, publishers and debt specialists.

When it comes to sectors, IT and technology dominate (30 per cent), followed by media & marketing (20 per cent), which shouldn’t be too surprising given the interest in digital services.

For the first time, we have a manufacturer in the top ten, backing up our feature last month that found a sector on the rise, and a recent report by the EEF business group which revealed that manufacturers have recorded their best performance, in terms of sustained growth and number of orders, for more than a decade.

You can still see the remnants of the traditional bias towards manufacturing in the North (with almost all our manufacturers based there), but what these companies truly have in common is that they are concentrating on specialist, high-value production.

Geographically, just under a third of companies are based in London, with 28 per cent around the Home Counties. However, four of the top ten companies by profit are in the North, with Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle clearly doing well.

Success stories
Looking through our previous two Rising Stars surveys, many of the listed and private companies have gone on to flourish, notably internet telephony sensation Skype, which went on to be bought by eBay for $2.6 billion (£1.3 billion).

A common theme from a number of the entrepreneurs behind these companies is clarity about what they’re doing, so that one service or product is focused on rather than a spread. That can leave a company vulnerable to losing a major client or contract, but without taking a risk they’d have no chance of succeeding in the first place.

Finally, great companies in Wales and the South West appear to be hiding their light under a bushel. Get in touch and tell us your story.