Celebrating British entrepreneurs at the Fast Track 100 awards 2021
Entrepreneurs have proved over the last 12 months that innovation is alive and well. 90,000 more businesses were created in 2020 than during 2019 according to data from Companies House. Fast Track 100 recognises Britain’s 100 private companies with the fastest-growing sales over the past three years.
This year’s Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 Awards was an online affair, with 280 guests attending virtually. The event also marked the final Fast Track 100 awards,ahead of Fast Track’s closure at the end of June.
The annual Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 awards event brings together the founders and entrepreneurs running the UK’s fastest growing businesses. Companies on the league table (published on 6 Dec 2020) grew their sales by between 38% and 441% per annum over their last three years, mostly pre-COVID-19, to a total of £4.4bn.
Josh Bayliss, Virgin Group CEO, gave a welcome speech at the event. “1,700 companies have made their way through Fast Track 100 league tables over the years – they have built innovative products and created hundreds of thousands of jobs in the UK and around the world. Fast Track has been the benchmark annual survey of entrepreneurship in the UK,” he said.
Although it’s been a difficult year for business, Fast Track guests were confident about their company’s prospects over the next 12 months.
The prestigious award for the fastest-growing company was presented virtually by Richard Branson, founder of title sponsor Virgin, to Glencar Construction, which is building the UK’s new Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre in Oxfordshire. The company grew sales by an average of 441% a year to an annualised £97m in 2020 – the highest growth rate in all 24 years of Fast Track 100.
The Ones to Watch award was sponsored by Virgin and was presented by Holly Branson, chair of Virgin Unite, to Lucy Greenwood and Chris Renwick, co-founders of Lucy & Yak. It manufactures ethical and sustainable clothing in India and Barnsley and almost doubled sales last year to £9.7m.
Other winners include:
The Best management team award was presented to founder & chief executive Logan Plant and finance director Adam Gregory of Beavertown Brewery, which sold a minority stake three years ago to brewery giant Heineken for £40m to strengthen its senior team and build the largest brewery in London.
The Outstanding achievement award was won by founder and chief executive Jo Malone of VetPartners, which has made more than 500 acquisitions since it was founded in 2015.
The Excellence in international e-commerce award was presented to co-founders Melanie and Daniel Marsden of Lounge Underwear, which generates more than half its £40m sales from international customers and has grown exports fourfold this year to £28m.
The Innovation award was presented to co-founder and chief executive Stuart McLachlan of Anthesis Group, which helps governments and companies such as Amazon and Tesco become more sustainable and is investing in early-stage cleantech firms so they can scale quickly.
The Innovative business model award was won by co-founders Julian Hearn and James Collier and chief executive James McMaster of Huel, which sells its plant-based nutritionally-complete meals in 90 countries, and expects sales to increase 40% to £100m this year.
The Emerging brand award was presented to co-founders Darina Garland and Kristian Tapaninaho of Ooni, which quadrupled sales to £55m last year, helped by high-profile customers such as Bruce Willis and Drew Barrymore.