Gloucestershire’s 50 Leading Entrepreneurs - September 2019

National | Local Business | September 2019 | Issue 43

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Want to be part of it? email or telephone 01452 308781 Punchline’s next issue, THE APPRENTICESHIP GUIDE & THE FUTURE OF THE HIGH STREET will be published innovember

Ups and downs of business

Business is like riding an escalator. One minute you’re nicely moving to the top of where you want to go. Then somebody pushes the stop button and it all grinds to a halt. It could be that a key member of staff announces that they are leaving. A contract that is suddenly cancelled. A client that no longer loves you and moves on to a competitor. Or a supplier that goes bust, owing you thousands of pounds. Whichever it is – I can guarantee you that every one of our top 50 entrepreneurs listed here in this edition of would have experienced and seen it all. Entrepreneurs don’t stop on the escalator. They look to fix it, then how to build one themselves and once built, sell it to everyone else. True entrepreneurs have the drive, determination, passion and ability to spot an opportunity and then the conviction to go for it. To risk it all on an idea, a dream. They don’t need a mate or a buddy to help to get them started and hang on to, like some sort of human comfort blanket. Some are driven by money. Some are driven by fame. But the really successful ones are driven by pure

passion. A burning hot engine that motivates them to succeed every single day, year after year.

It's infectious and they have the ability to bring everyone else along for the ride. So I hope you enjoy your journey and of course this magazine l

Mark Owen

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Punchline Magazine is published by Moose Partnership Limited, based at The Old Fire Station, Barbican Road, Gloucester, GL1 2JF. Reproduction of any material, in the whole or part, is strictly forbidden without the prior written consent of the publishers.All material is sent at the owners risk and whilst every care is taken, Moose Partnership Limited will not accept liability for loss or damage. Dates, information and prices quoted are believed to be correct at the time of going to press but are subject to change and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. Moose Partnership Limited does not accept responsibility for any material submitted, whether photographic or otherwise.All rights reserved ©2019

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£60 million to be spent on Gloucestershire’s second designer outlet centre

You wait all your life for one retail outlet centre to come to Gloucestershire and then two come along in a decade. The shine is yet to wear off from Gloucester Quays

Er, not quite. Because, just like London buses, a second is popping along at any time, with a £60million development called Designer Outlet Cotswold setting up shop less than 20 miles away.

– the landmark development that helped transform Gloucester into a bustling modern city. By anyone’s standards, the Quays have been a rip-roaring success. A destination in a city that needed one and home to thriving shops, businesses and an expanding population of happy residents. Gloucestershire got what it wanted and everyone lived happily ever after, the end…

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A joint project between Cheltenham-based Robert Hitchins Ltd and Austrian firm ROS Retail Outlet Shopping, Designer Outlet Cotswolds will be built next to Junction 9 of the M5 motorway. Land sandwiched between the motorway and the A46 will be turned into a 195,000 square foot retail park that will feature 90 shops, restaurants and cafes. The development will be opened in two phases, with the first phase of construction pencilled to start in the autumn of 2020 and set to open a year later. In a statement, the developers said: “The architecturally-appealing designer village will benefit from a sizeable local catchment, millions of vehicles passing near the site each year, and high visitor numbers to one of Britain’s top tourism regions. “Local shoppers living in the area are expected to

account for over half of total annual revenue, with passing traffic plus tourism predicted to provide the remainder.” The scheme is part of a wider retail development including a new 81,800 sq ft garden centre, alongside an existing M&S supermarket, Starbucks and BP petrol filling station. A planning application for 850 homes, a school and local centre to the south has also been submitted and is awaiting determination by Tewkesbury Borough Council. The development is the first venture in the UK by ROS Retail Outlet Shopping and the statement said it showed their “confidence both in the British retail sector and, in particular, the growth potential of outlet shopping.”

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The Vienna-headquartered company currently manages 10 other outlet centres across Europe with operations in Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Croatia and Hungary. Thomas Reichenauer, co-founder and managing director of ROS Retail Outlet Shopping, said: “With our specialism in designer outlets across Europe, and our in-depth knowledge of different markets, we see tremendous potential for the UK retail sector. “This is especially true for outlet shopping, which has been bucking trends in the UK for several years, generating significant interest amongst top brands and customers in the concept."

While the developers may be Austrian, there is a sizeable local interest in the site, with Robert Hitchins partners in the development. Gloucester-based architects Roberts Limbrick have been involved with the design of the project from the early stages and are now currently finalising the final masterplan for the site. Although not physically in the Cotswolds, its proximity to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty leads to an easy win for marketing – and also for the design and build of the project. Simon Tothill, property and development director of

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welcoming customers from near and far.” The fact that it will draw customers from near to the development will be of concern to business owners on Tewkesbury’s high street. In September, Tewkesbury was one of 69 conurbations across the UK to benefit from a £95 million government funding boost for promoting high streets as a destination. And Rob Bird, leader of Tewkesbury Borough Council believes that the new outlet will be “complementary” to the traditional high street. The council still have to approve the reserved matters planning permission for the site, which will determine the final design and details, but Councillor Bird said it would be good for the town. “The retail outlet at Junction 9 will create hundreds of jobs for the area. “Tewkesbury Borough Council has also now secured £2 million of government funding to help bring new life to the high street, making the town more attractive to business investment and tourists. “This designer outlet development is expected to be complementary to the offering of the high street, and we anticipate it will draw people in from a wider area” l

Robert Hitchins Ltd, said: “Designer Outlet Cotswolds will be an eye-catching development, reflecting the architecture and materials of the historic towns and villages of the Cotswolds. “We’ll be creating a state-of-the-art retail destination, with contemporary and adaptable units suited to the needs of modern shopping and dining. “With a comfortable and welcoming environment, this will be a memorable addition to a day out in the Cotswolds. “We’re very excited about the development plans and look forward to completing the scheme and

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It would be far too rash to get rid of cash, say industry experts

Has it ever been more difficult to get hold of money? We’re not talking about the ability to make money – that is difficult enough. But we’re talking about being out and about in glorious Gloucestershire and getting your hands on your hard-earned cash. Once at the heart of every community, no matter how rural and remote, the local bank was able to supply you with the cash you needed. As technology improved, it would be to the hole in the wall that you would turn when in need of some money, so the banks closed. But with an increasing number of cashpoints now charging or being removed altogether, it can be difficult to actually get hold of money. New research from the consumer group Which? indicates the one in 10 free UK cashpoints have either closed or started to charge since 2018. Anabel Hoult of Which? and Natalie Ceeney of the Access to Cash Review have written to chancellor Sajid Javid to urge the government to protect these vital services. Their view has been echoed by Mike Cherry, the national chairman of the Federation of Small The truth about diets The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. The French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. Conclusion: Eat and drink what you like. It’s speaking English that kills you l

Business, who says millions of small businesses have customers who deal only in cash. “Often these customers are among society’s most vulnerable: the elderly, those on tight budgets and those with disabilities,” Mr Cherry said. “It’s vital that banks, regulators and the government work together to arrest the decline of our cash network. “Otherwise we risk yet another blow to our high streets: reduced footfall as bank branches and ATMs are lost and less cashflow in local economies. “There’s no silver bullet here. The drop in ATM interchange fee certainly seems to have had an impact, but we need to think bigger and more collaboratively when addressing this challenge. “More bank branches need to become community centres – providing meeting rooms, cafes and digital facilities alongside in-person banking support. “The Post Office also has a role to play, and more should be done to improve and standardise its banking offer across locations. “Then there are tax incentives to consider – to date, our regressive business rates system has not been kind to shop owners who decide to host a cashpoint and thereby provide a vital public service” l The stockbroker A stockbroker fell overboard from a friend’s sailboat. The friend grabbed a life preserver, held it up,

not knowing if the banker could swim, and shouted, “Can you float alone?” “Obviously,” the broker replied, “but this is a really strange time to talk business” l

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10 – 13 MARCH 2020


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Pushing all the right buttons

Rescuing 150 years of history, preserving a near-lost craft, bringing back to life a Gloucestershire invention and making the fashion industry look good are all in a day’s work for a Cotswold business. The 150 years of history refers to the last UK horn button maker, Grove & Sons Ltd, the county invention is an ingenious material made from milk, and the green credentials of its products are irresistible for a fashion industry keen for a clear conscious. We are talking about the intriguing story of the Cotswold button manufacturer, Courtney & Co, whose beautifully crafted, classic discs can be found on the cloths of labels fashionistas would die for. Its 150 years of heritage makes for a great back- story – patterns, tools, machinery, photographs, drawings, all bought after the death of a British institution, the aforementioned Grove & Sons. But it shows a respect for and celebration of British manufacturing, of old fashioned (in the best possible way) handmade quality, which fit perfectly in a marketplace hungry for impeccable detail and provenance. “Back in 2013 we became involved with a company called Grove & Sons Ltd based in Halesowen in the West Midlands, which went bust in 2012. It was a venerable name in the industry and 155 years old and we became involved in a project to save it,” said David Courtney, whose first contact with the old business was as an investor. And save it they did, but under new ownership it lasted just 18 months. “So in December 2015 we were left with all the machines and assets and not knowing what to do with them.” Which is when they came across a man called Michael Davis, who had been making polyester buttons in Corby for some time and wanted to diversify. By then Mr Courtney had fallen in love with the idea of re-establishing it as a business and could not let go entirely. A partnership was formed and the result saw Mr Courtney heading up the new company built on the history and heritage of Grove & Sons, alongside the

expert button maker that is Mr Davis and a small team based at its new headquarters in Bourton-on- the-Water. For those still intrigued by the mention of the milk- based material, it is trademarked as Codelite – a material known as casein, cured and hardened milk protein which was first produced in the UK back in 1910 at a factory in Stroud. It is not the only material it uses, but all of its materials are biodegradable. Courtney & Co’s celebration of British business and manufacturing recently drew the attention the Princess Royal, no less. She is the president of the British fashion & textile network the UKFT, of which the button company is a member, and she was intrigued enough to visit for a personal tour of the company. Sales are to trade – usually designers, tailors, and brands and this year it expects to sell an estimated 750,000 buttons. Customers have come from as far afield as South Africa, Ghana, Singapore, Canada and Kenya l

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John Clingan, back row, second from right. Rob Clingan, back row, fourth from left

50 years of bringing home the bacon… and sausages

When John Clingan and Derek Meadows set up shop in Northgate Street in 1969, Gloucester and the food retail industry were very different places. Cars used to drive straight through The Cross in the centre of the city, destined for provisions stores dotted around a bustling shopping precinct. Sainsbury’s was a week away from opening its first Gloucester store, on the day Farmhouse Cooked Meats opened its doors for the first time, five months after man had first stepped on to the Moon. Then, Mr Clingan was competing for business, not only against the growing presence of town centre supermarkets, but with 29 butchers' shops in the city too. Now, 50 years on, the Clingan family and what is known as Farmhouse Deli, is still going in Northgate Street – and on Southgate Street and in Cheltenham’s High Street too.

Still behind the counter on the street he first started serving behind halt-a-century ago, Mr Clingan has seen the city and buying habits transformed. “When we started out 50 years ago, we would sell bacon and sausages, as well as cooked meat and cheese, but now we have evolved to offer what today’s customer wants,” he said. “Today’s it’s what we call handheld food: sausage rolls, prepared sandwiches, scotch eggs and pies, but the customers still like what we offer. “If you give a customer what they want, they’ll come back for more.” Although now something of a Gloucester institution in his own right, Mr Clingan grew up in Kirkcudbright in the west of Scotland. From a line of Scottish grocers, the family moved south after the war to run the Pelican Inn in Gloucester, where a 10-year-old John would be put to work. It was there he met Derek Meadows and the two

became firm friends and, in the following years, workmates and then business partners. After stints working for Mr Meadows at the Constance Hotel in the Snack Spot, they took over a Market Parade

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The staff at the Southgate Street store

“Back then, we would have two members of staff working non-stop just cutting bacon. They couldn’t cut it fast enough. We were selling six tonnes of bacon a week.” Where there was bacon there were sausages too, “We decided to make our own sausages because we wanted to create our own quality brand,” Mr Clingan said. “From there, came our other products, the scotch eggs, the sausage rolls and so on. We were always developing what we sold to meet the needs of our customers.We still are.” By 1990, Farmhouse Deli was operating from the original Northgate Street store and in Eastgate Market with John’s five children, Sue, Caroline, Jenny, Jo and Rob, along with his wife Emma, all working in the stores at various points. Then a chance came to move across the street and next door to Sainsbury’s, into the shop they still occupy today. In 2012, the opportunity came to move into Cheltenham and take the Farmhouse Deli into a new market on the Strand in the town’s High Street. And, five years later, the Indoor Market operation was moved into much larger premises in Southgate Street, where like the Cheltenham store, the family

restaurant called The Top Spot. It was a place Mr Clingan called a “restaurant by day and frothy coffee shop at night”.

A place still fondly remembered by some of his customers now, the Top Spot fell victim to a compulsory purchase order, when King’s Square was first overhauled in 1968. New premises were sought and 61 Northgate Street – opposite the current Farmhouse Deli – was secured. The rest is history. “Northgate Street was the hub of the city and we couldn’t keep up with demand,” Mr Clingan said. “So we also opened in the Eastgate Indoor Market, where we traded for the next 45 years. “At 8am each morning, we had to keep the doors locked and try to sneak the staff in, because people were queuing down the street. “It was an age when the customer would go out and do all of their shopping in provisions shops. “They would be buying a couple of pounds each of bacon and sausages and a large boiling joint every week.

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Jenny Clingan with the members of the team at the Cheltenham High Street store

run a thriving coffee shop alongside the deli. The Southgate Street branch is the biggest of the three shops and saw the business evolve again and Mr Clingan senior return to the coffee shop roots that he had first set down in theTop Spot a half-century earlier. With Rob and Jenny now taking over the helm, the business now employs 32 staff across the three sites. The third generation of Clingans form part of that workforce, with 20-year-old Ollie already behind the counter, and Rob’s young sons eagerly waiting in the wings until they are old enough to wear the apron. Mr Clingan added: “All of my children have grown up in the stores. When we first started out, my wife Gwyn and I would bring Sue, our eldest, to the shop because we were both working there. “She would sit in her pram and be entertained by the customers. And all of the kids and now grandchildren have come through the shops. I am very proud of it being a family business.” The family ethos has ensured that, of the 30 or so

staff on the books, around a dozen of them have been with the Clingans and the Farmhouse Deli for more than a decade. CallumMay, the manager of the Cheltenham store met his soon-to-be-wife Ellie while both working behind the counter – and all the Clingan and Farmhouse Deli family will help them celebrate on the big day. And while the family involvement and a lot of the staff have remained constant, the ability to evolve the business has been the key to 50 years – and more – of success in business. Mr Clingan said: “The business from 50 years ago is unrecognisable to the one now. So, we’ve had to change. “We make 15 flavours of sausages, producing more than a tonne of them in a week. We also make our own traditional hams and pies. “Now we make pies for people to put straight in the oven for convenience, we make and prepare sandwiches and sausage rolls for the lunchtime market too. “We’ve adapted to what our customers have needed and wanted from us, and that’s why we have had the success. “For us, the customer has always been number one and we hope that we can be serving them for another 50 years” l For more information on Farmhouse Deli, contact 01452 521784 , email visit @FarmhouseDeli on Facebook or @farmhouse_cooked_meats on Instagram

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Welcome to Gloucestershire’s 50 Leading Entrepreneurs 2019

Between them, they have helped generate millions of pounds for Gloucestershire, created thousands of jobs, and we hope – through telling just a little of their stories here – inspired many. These are the business people we are calling Gloucestershire’s 50 Leading Entrepreneurs 2019. It is a list on which we hope everyone, no

people, and special thanks must go to Alex Lyttle, of Tayntons Solicitors, Kieran O'Donoghue of HR Champions, Sam Holliday of the Federation of Small Businesses and especially Simon Ford, of Allstone Group. Without their help, we would never have arrived where we did. In the end, those with the longest

careers generally won out, as did those who had put something back into the county, as their success along the way has allowed them to. Also factored in was the number of jobs they have created and what they began their careers with. In many cases, it was simply an idea. Capital came later. Judging by what ended up on the cutting room floor, Gloucestershire need not worry for the future – it has scores of fresh-faced entrepreneurs already making their mark. But they are for another list.

matter how familiar they are with the county’s business landscape, will find someone they have not heard of before. And we stress, while it is numbered, it is in no particular order. “This is not the definitive 50 – and we know we are bound to have missed some truly extraordinary stories out there still waiting to be told – but we think, as our first list of this kind, it stands up really quite well indeed,” said Mark Owen, the editor of and managing director of Moose Marketing and PR.

Special thanks must also go to GFirst LEP, which has helped thousands of companies big and small since its inception, and which gave us a list of exciting prospects. We should also mention accountants and business experts Randall & Payne. We hope you will join with us in acknowledging the diversity of talent featured on the following pages. All of us here at Punchline take our hats off to those chosen for this edition’s special feature (again, please please remember the list is in no particular order.) We are conscious of the need for still more diversity within the list and that is where you can help. Please send us your suggestions and comments as we are already working on the next showcase. Email l

“What we wanted were names of the most entrepreneurial business people from the county, a list which showed the diversity of the sectors alive and well within Gloucestershire.” Punchline went first to business people and organisations and asked them to recommend those who have impressed them with their entrepreneurial abilities in business, and we compiled our own list. Then we merged the two together, and that’s when we found we had a problem. That ‘shortlist’ numbered more than 130 business people. So we enlisted the help of a panel of business

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- the making of Gloucestershire’s 50 leading entrepreneurs

‘They are people who have taken risks throughout their business lives and created something out of nothing’, is how one of our judges summed up what it is to be an entrepreneur. As is often said, the respect of your peers is real respect – and there must have been more than a few ears burning as a list of 100-plus possibles was whittled down to form Gloucestershire’s 50 Top Entrepreneurs. had asked contacts for suggestions to ensure the list came from those ‘in the know’ in the county. And then it called one of its ‘pizza, parlez and Peroni’ gatherings and put a slimmed down version – still more than 100 worth – to a panel, including Simon Ford, of Allstone, Kieran O'Donoghue of HR Champions Ltd, Alex Lyttle, of Tayntons Solicitors and Sam Holliday, from the FSB. Chaired by Mark Owen, editor of this title and managing director of Moose Marketing and PR, the discussion (over obligatory pizza and Peroni) about which entrepreneur would make the final cut was

frank, insightful, illuminating, often full of praise, necessarily brutal at times (and occasionally too honest to publish). Mr Ford, the managing director of the Gloucester- based sand and gravel and builders merchants, as well as skip hire, said: “Entrepreneurs are people who have taken risks throughout their business lives and created something out of nothing, within reason, and grown businesses in different walks of life and systems. “They are creating deals. They will see things that other people can’t see. They are inventors, creators - creators of jobs. “There are a lot of people on this list I look up to.” We could pick any of the names off the list, but here are a few of the reactions to some of those who made it. “He is a must. I have seen him talk in front of business people, but also in front of young people and everyone loves him. They want to be him,” said Mr Lyttle, a lawyer expert in commercial litigation and employment.

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“They have diversified. They bought an IT business, and are now offering everything from VOIP to the latest mobile phone technology, they are staying ahead of everyone,” said Mr O'Donoghue, whose Gloucester-based business specialises in the HR and employment law support, as well as training for businesses. Mr O'Donoghue had this to say on being involved in the Pizza, Parlez and Peroni gathering: “It was both heartening and humbling to discover that there were so many people around the county who could so easily be referred to as entrepreneurs. Indeed, the fact that we needed a panel to whittle the numbers down speaks volumes about the breadth of talent that exists in Gloucestershire. “Whilst a few names stood out as clear and obvious contenders for the list, I think every member on the panel at some stage came across names they had never even heard of. “That there were so many entrepreneurs who were ‘under the radar’ was again indicative of the

He was talking about Neil Ricketts, the founder and boss of Cheltenham-headquartered Versarien. When the name Alan Smith, of Smith’s Gloucester Ltd came up? “He started with a JCB he borrowed and has built the business from there. His business now turns over about £50 million,” said Mr Ford, whose family-owned business has been providing quality aggregates in Gloucestershire for more than 30 years. On whether Mr Smith he should be in the list? “It is a no-brainer to me,” said Mr Lyttle. It was a unanimous verdict. The panel heard how Dave Attwood, of International Plywood, had “started from scratch”. Turnover at the Innsworth business is in the region of £155 million today. Lister Unified Communications’ Tom and Rob Lister got mutual admiration from around the table.

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Sam Holliday, FSB development manager for Gloucestershire, Bristol, Bath & South Glos, said: “I came away both amazed and excited at the sheer breadth of entrepreneurial talent there is in Gloucestershire. “Some of those on our list will be very well known names – either in the community at large or within the wider business scene – but what took me by surprise was there were some people I had never heard of, who have been quietly going about their business of doing amazing work for themselves, their employees and the wider Gloucestershire economy. "As the FSB is Britain’s biggest business representation group, I have the privilege on a day-to-day basis to meet and talk to many business owners and entrepreneurs and, however small their operation is, I’m always impressed with their drive, ambition and enthusiasm. Hopefully they will all be encouraged that all the best entrepreneurs we have listed here, also have those qualities in abundance. "What all successful entrepreneurs also share – whether their businesses are big or small - is a passion for their product and a fierce, never-say-die attitude. “So many of the people we have been able to recognise today started with absolutely nothing in

depth of local talent and demonstrates that not every successful individual clamours for fame and recognition. “We can apply particular traits and adjectives to entrepreneurs such as ‘single mindedness’ or ‘opportunistic’. “One of the criteria we agreed upon, however, when making our choices was that the entrepreneur in question invested back into Gloucestershire; whether that is through new initiatives or the expansion of their business and job creation. As a strong believer in local investment, this was a critical point for me. “Equally, the diversity of businesses run by our entrepreneurs is reassuring, when considering the future prosperity and economic stability of the county. It was certainly an eye-opening session, and with so many local people clearly so very successful, a huge reminder that there is much to celebrate about Gloucestershire."

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Simon Ford, managing director of Allstone and Speedy Skips, was adamant his name should not be on the list, but the panel and Punchline thought otherwise. He had this insight into

the bank, but a great idea in their brain and to see them then bring that idea to market and go on to become extremely successful is very exciting. “They must have been an inspiration to many others to start their own businesses, even when there may have been people close to them telling them that it won’t work, they can’t afford it or, maybe, that they are ever so slightly barking mad... .” Mr Holliday said: “What we also knew as judges, is that even with this fantastically strong list, we were merely scratching the surface. “We could’ve added so many more names to the roll call from those we discussed – and we were acutely aware that there are probably plenty more that we didn’t even get the chance to consider. But I think we all felt we have ended up with a fine collection of individuals that reflect extremely well on themselves, their business and the county that either inspired them to start their business or has become that permanent business home.” We here at Punchline think this is a robust list, and we hope it helps celebrate the rich and diverse talent here in Gloucestershire across a broad range of sectors.What we also hope, is that it provokes a reaction, causes debate, champions business in the county – and brings forward even more names for us to refresh it and do it all over again. Just don’t tell the judges yet l

Simon Ford

running a business in a highly competitive sector. “I met Sir John Harvey Jones when I was 19, 20 and asked him for some advice to run and grow business. He said ‘change or die’. In other words you have to be continuously changing – or go out of business. You have to see what people want, what is lacking in a market. “In our industry - quarrying and waste and property development – you have to lead rather than follow. You have to create. We have invested in recycling machines, plants and lorries. “They are all trying to push the boundaries of what we do. You see opportunities all the way. All the time. People come to you with them. You have to wheedle the good from the bad.” As for any advice he may have himself: “There are two snippets I live by. Always treat people as you want to be treated. “The second thing is really that you never stop learning. Every single day is a learning day. You gather that knowledge throughout your day, until you die. Always be humble, never be big headed and always be prepared to learn.” He added: “I have heard it a lot, where people get asked that question – ‘what advice would you give?’. It is a difficult one. My mother taught me just to work your socks off, follow your heart. The old man used to say, ‘buy something for a pound, sell it for two, just to cover your costs’. “Always buy the best things. If your business is selling something – you have to believe in that product. Have the best product you can. It does not matter if it costs a little bit more. Believe in yourself. It is a lonely business. “There is no one patting me on the back and there is not going to be. It can be a lonely place” l

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Dear reader, and especially those of you featured on these pages as Gloucestershire’s 50 Leading Entrepreneurs.We have numbered each of the entries, but please, please take note – they are in no particular order. (Although saying that, in Punchline’s view, in their own way they are all (of course) number one) l Mark Owen

Chris Adey founder of ADEY Professional Heating Solutions Cheltenham Chris Adey started the business back in 2003, based on his faith in his invention - the MagnaClean® filter, an ingenious magnetic filtration product for household boilers. The company demonstrated considerable growth, from £18m annual revenue in 2012 to £34m in 2015 “achieving significant volumes” in over 40 countries. In June 2016, a management buyout was announced, allowing Mr Adey the chance to capitalise on his efforts. Aside from the wealth he created, there is the no small matter of his legacy – a thriving business with more than 110 staff and apprentices to boot l 1

Gill Taylor managing director of Newberry International Produce Limited Newent Daughter of a teaching assistant and painter and decorator, Gillian Taylor (nee Pearson) was just 10 when her father died. “He was the main breadwinner. I had to wash up at local pubs and clean rich people’s silver to earn money and help my mum,” she told The Times newspaper. She had aspired to go to university, but the fees put it out of her reach and she went to work for a fruit and vegetable importer instead. At 19, and already working 16 hours a day, she begged her boss to let her sell frozen smoothie sachets to local juice bars. He laughed at the idea. Apparently she was dismissed as a “silly girl” by some. The then 19-year-old sales manager threatened to quit and set up the business herself. She got her way. Six months later her sub-brand of ‘Gills Fruit Fusions’ had sales of £1m. Today she owns the UK based food ingredients manufacturing business, now home to the brands Smootheelicious, Milkeelicious, Nutri-Pellet & Grange Hall Farm. Turnover at Newberry is in excess of £19 million l 2


Bob Holt Mears Group Gloucester Plenty has been

written about Mr Holt taking the little-known Gloucestershire-based Mears to flotation and beyond. But it is well worth re-telling. After a career successfully buying and selling firms under the wing of one Lord Ashcroft

and Tony Berry of Arrow Group, Mr Holt, the son of a greengrocer, decided to find one he could grow and keep. In 1996, he bought what became Mears Group for £50,000 from founder, Mike Turl. Today it is among the very biggest firms in Gloucestershire – by turnover – employs 140- plus staff at its headquarters in Brockworth and thousands more UK-wide. Turnover for the first six

months of this year was up 10 per cent to £480.8 million. Its charitable work is worthy of note, as is its dedication to his Footprints Foundation, which raises thousands for charitable concerns. And then there are his other directorships. But we could be here forever l

September 2019 | www. punchline-gloucester .com | 21





Neil Ricketts co-founder in 2010 of graphene business

David Attwood International Plywood

Versarien Cheltenham It was back in the early 2000s, when working for the firm Total Carbide, that Neill Ricketts came across technology for producing microporous metals developed by the University of Liverpool. He knew it was too good an idea to walk away from. In 2010, together with ex- colleagueWill Battrick, they

Innsworth, Gloucester Now one of the UK’s largest importers of plywood and panel products. In business for more than 35 years in an extremely competitive market. From a turnover of £14 million in 1998, the company exceeded £120 million in 2016 and has won numerous industry awards. Its last set of company accounts, filed for the year ending April 2018, shows a turnover of £155.9 million. “He can see it. He can smell it. He’s on it,” according to one of our judges talking about Mr Attwood. Based at Innsworth Technology Park, Gloucester l

founded Versarien, working out of a garage in Mr Rickett’s native Forest of Dean. The business grew quickly and by 2013 was an AIM-listed newcomer. Since then, Mr Ricketts has travelled to China with the former Prime minister on trade missions, signed more memorandums of understanding with wannabe business partners from China than you could care to mention, done deals in Japan and made inroads into the American market. A member of GFirst LEP, and despite running a now city-facing business, he has never lost his focus on the county. Still known to turn out for Drybrook Rugby.We’re not saying it is the first team, mind l

Peter Morris Howard Tenens Ltd Thrupp, Stroud. Founded in 1953, Howard Tenens has grown into one of the largest independently owned logistics companies in the UK. It describes its own beginnings as “humble”, but Peter Morris, 75, has overseen the growth of the now family firm – which also counts Daniel and Ben Morris among its directors - into what has been described as “an industry-leader in complex logistics… never been afraid to challenge convention or take on the unimaginable”. Its key principal is to deliver solutions for its clients. It prides itself on being easy to work, and cut red tape. The long-term relationships it has achieved are testament to that. The group recently restricted, hiving off its property and distribution divisions. In April this year the newly-formed Howard Tenens Logistics revealed it had generated a £36.4 million turnover for its first six months trading - £20 million for the transport and £16 million for the warehouse and storage. Group turnover rose to £94 million for the same period l 6

The name trusted in commercial property OFFICES | INDUSTRIAL | AGRICULTURAL | RETAIL | HOSPITALITY

22 | September 2019 | www. punchline-gloucester .com


William Gilder William Gilder Ltd Teddington, Tewkesbury “He has everything an entrepreneur should need,” according to one of our judges. “He is fantastic”.

What impressed our judge most was how he has adapted and taken advantage of opportunities to drive his business “working tirelessly”. “There is business going on all over his business. He can see an opportunity and boy does he grasp it. He’s not frightened of anything. If you want a picture of an entrepreneur in Gloucestershire - it is him”. Mr Gilder started the business in 1985 as an agricultural contractor, seeing an opportunity to buy and sell used farm machinery. As the business grew he bought his first truck, so he could offer a delivery service for the machinery, and drove it himself. In 1989, the business relocated to one of its current locations, Gretton Fields, and continued to grow and diversify , including shunting tug and tanker hire. 2002 saw the formal registering of ‘William Gilder Ltd’ and in 2004, with five trucks, 20 tugs and increased sales,William employed a transport manager to enable him to focus on looking for new business opportunities. In 2009 as part of the business’s ongoing commitment to quality and service, the company gained ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems and ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems accreditation.William Gilder Ltd continues to expand, and now includes industrial services and waste treatment provisions and facilities. It also has a new head office at Teddington Hands. Today, there are seven main areas that make up the business, with over 200 employees l

Alan Smith Smith’s Gloucester Ltd Stonehouse a borrowed digger. It now offers a complete service to the construction industry and is rapidly gaining market share in the waste management and recycling sector and exploring the future of biomass energy. It is also well known for its skip hire. According to one of our judges, Alan Smith “is continuously creating, buying other business, taking risks”. Accounts just filed with Companies Hosue show sales up marginally on 2018, from £51,359,815 to £51,319,603, but an 11.77 per cent rise in gross profits to £6,040,542 l 8 The family-run Stonehouse-based waste, construction company has now been in business 37 years. It started with one man, Alan Smith, and

01452 222340 8-12 Clarence Street, Gloucester GL1 1DZ

September 2019 | www. punchline-gloucester .com | 23




Freemans Event Partners Stephen Freeman jr Gloucester

Judges described Mr Freeman as a serial entrepreneur. “He has helped take the firm on in leaps and bounds. He saw the need for a wholesaler and set it up,” said one judge. “The company is constantly evolving and investing in different things”. Freemans Event Partners has now been supporting

events in the UK for four decades. Its services centres around food and drink provision. But in a sign of how innovative it has become, it also offers a full range of technology and IT services for event goers and concessionaires, including mobileWi-Fi, EPOS and contactless payment methods. From a couple of outlets, it has grown to a business that reaches over 15 million people each year at over 400 events l


Tom and Rob Lister Lister Unified Communications Stonehouse

Of the family whose name will forever be associated with the famous diesel engine, the brothers branched out in business themselves nearly two decades ago. Rob, who had trained as an accountant with Ernst & Young and worked as a salesman for Lombard Leasing, bought out the customer facing arm of a Gloucestershire telecommunications business. Equally entrepreneurial brother Tom - at the time a 50:50 partner in the Severn &Wye Smokery at Chaxhill – bought in too and

the pair became partners in what became Lister Unified Communications. Endlessly innovating in a market which never stands still and always looking at how it operates, with an incredible knowledge of their market, the pair have grown the business organically, through acquisition, great staff and sheer hard work l

Come to the experts!

Onsite telecoms Mobile Workforce Cloud Solutions IT Support

24 | September 2019 | www. punchline-gloucester .com

Gary Jones GlevumWindows Newnham, Forest of Dean. Former Gloucester Technical College student set up GlevumWindows back in 1984, when he saw the less than favourable reputation some double glazing firms were getting in their early days of the sector. He simply felt he could do much better. He’s been proving it ever since, growing a respected family business nationwide – based on reputation and some simple principles of delivering what the customer wants. “Gary started with nothing and has created GlevumWindows and continues to grow that business and brand,” said one of the judges. “And he has remained committed to Gloucester”. Today the company turns over an estimated £10 million plus and employs 80 staff l 11

Jeff Williams Alpha Colour Printers Quedgeley, Gloucester Now chairman of a multi- million pound operation, Jeff Williams started out way back when in his dad’s garage in Reservoir Road. “Continuously changing or evolving. He could have stayed printing his calendars, but he has not. In that game you have to move, change, evolve. He is a mover and shaker,” said one of the judges. As for featuring Mr Williams on the list, the judges called the decision a “no brainer”. The modern Alpha Colour Printers is another of those Gloucestershire businesses which is more than the sum of its parts – with those parts included other members of the Williams family – daughter and managing director, Amy, and wife and operations director, Maggie. The Quedgeley-based business employs an estimated 38 staff l 12

01453 829200 Brunel Way, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, GL10 3SX 01453 8 9200 hello@lister-commun ww.lister-commun Brunel Way, Stonehouse, Glouce te shire, GL10 3SX

September 2019 | www. punchline-gloucester .com | 25



Ben and JoshWhite founders of Message Labs Cheltenham the sale of their former business, Gloucestershire-based Message Labs, to create a "new UK-focused technology venture capital fund" called Notion Capital, into which they planned to sink £20m. The brothers were “highly respected in the industry for the creation of Messagelabs”, the online messaging security group they sold in 2008 to Symantec for £397m. Perhaps little known is that BenWhite began his career selling life insurance. He also founded RBR Networks, a Cisco supplier that expanded to become the US company's largest European distributor. It was sold to Datatec in 1998 for £45 million. The duo then set up Star Internet, which grew to become one of the largest internet service providers. Message Labs was formed in 1999 to complement Star. The latter expanded into one of the world's largest messaging security groups, ahead of competitors such as Google and Microsoft at the time l 13 Described by the FT in 2008 as "technology entrepreneur brothers". The story at the time covered how they were planning to use part of the £100 million they received from


The Gillman family Gillman Electrical Group Ltd Gloucester “What you see it what you get,” said one of the judges, meaning it as a huge compliment.


Roger Head Gloucester Gloucester born and bred, Mr

He was talking about Gillman’s, the independent family electrical retail business - and then some. This year Gillman Electrical Group celebrated 50 years in business. The highly respected and successful company has its shop front in St Oswald's Way, Gloucester, and deals with all the top brands you could list. And then there are its other business interests - Montpellier, its Tewkesbury headquartered brand of up- market refrigeration, laundry, dishwashing and cooking home appliances - and neighbouring DAD distribution operation. Too many key family members to single out an individual for the purposes of these pages. Started in 1969 by John and Erika Patricia Gillman, originally as a service and repair company. Robert, the eldest of their three children joined the company in 1970 followed by his sister Annabelle and brother

Head went to Central Technology College and served an apprenticeship at a Jaguar agents in Gloucester, before beginning a business career which has

spanned more than 40 years. His main interests have been commercial property and telecommunications, but he also found time to serve on the Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Board, a key catalyst in the redevelopment of the city’s Docks and Quays, and led the much-loved The Pied Piper Appeal for 10 years, as well as serving as a trustee. He is also well known for restoring Highnam Court and its gardens, using it to host the now annual Gloucestershire Motor Show – which raises thousands of pounds for the Pied Piper Appeal l

Adrian. It is this trio who are the modern day architects, owners and directors of a of a multi-million pound business company, which employs an estimated 150 staff l

“It is the personal relationships alongside the quality, experience and enthusiasm of our staff that sets us apart.”

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Adam, Lee, and Tony Walding Leeways Packing from over 85 per cent recycled materials. In 2019 the family-run packaging firm secured a £400,000 finance package to help build one of the biggest solar farms in the region l 17 Churcham, Forest of Dean The company, which employs 130 staff across three sites, manufactures up to 500 million plastic trays every year, which are 100 per cent recyclable and made


Richard Muller Prima Dental Quedgeley, Gloucester When Mr Muller first took over

the company, it already had substantial pedigree – dating back more than 150 years, but its technology reflected it too. He set about understanding the business inside out, and then began investing, transforming it into an operation which now exports to 100 countries. In 2017, it unveiled a £3 million innovation centre, a 21,000 sq ft building close to its base at Waterwells Business Park in Quedgeley. Staff numbers have been growing, taking total headcount past 250 l

Call 01452 623623 Email

September 2019 | www. punchline-gloucester .com | 27

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