Highest-growing UK SMEs vie for top spots in prestigious Growing Business Awards

With less than three weeks left to enter the 2022 Growing Business Awards, some of the most promising UK SMEs are competing for a chance to showcase their growth and join past winners including Reconomy, Pip & Nut, Revolut and Zoopla

Since 1998, the Growing Business Awards (GBA) have been bringing together and showcasing some of the UK’s most outstanding entrepreneurs and high-growth businesses. The 2021 edition was obviously exceptional - mirroring the tumultuous time experienced by the UK economy at large in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. But despite the challenging conditions, no fewer than 169 companies entered the Awards, across a wide range of sectors and at various stages of size and growth, from early-stage to developing and mature businesses.

To best reflect the diversity of this fast-growing SME landscape, the awards celebrate success across a range of categories, including Online Business of the Year, Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Market Disruptor of the Year. The latter is a prime opportunity for cutting-edge businesses to stand out, as evidenced by 2020 and 2021 winner Kubrick Group. The technology consulting firm, which trains graduates and junior professionals for client projects, was praised by the judges for how it disrupted its market, creating career opportunities for people who might otherwise have struggled.

Indeed, the GBA are not just about recognising financial success. A number of categories offer companies a chance to stand out and shout about their achievements in terms of fostering diversity and inclusion (Diversity and Inclusion Champion of the Year), sustainability efforts (Sustainable Business of the Year) and wider positive social impact (the Bridges Positive Impact Award).

Dr Graeme Malcolm OBE is the CEO and founder of another past GBA winner, photonics and quantum technology company M Squared. He said: “Entering the awards was an opportunity to tell our story, whilst winning the awards was a real boost to M Squared and the people who work so hard to make us a success.” Many past winners have indeed turned from young upstarts to household names, including Revolut, Fever-Tree, Betfair, Tyrells, Ella’s Kitchen and Warren Evans, among many others across the country.

As impressive as the individual success stories of each winner are, the aggregate clout of 2021 GBA entrants is a timely reminder of how much potential the UK SME space has to offer.

Aggregate revenues of the 2021 cohort were in excess of £3.6bn, with 75% of them being profitable businesses generating aggregate EBITDA of £351m. Over the 2018-2021 period, entrants grew their combined revenues by £1.8bn, of which £1bn was achieved in the most recent trading period.

Between them, GBA contestants employed nearly 24,000 staff across their businesses as of the end of 2021. Over the previous 36 months, they created some 9,700 new jobs - and again, most of this growth came despite the Covid crisis, with more than 6,000 of these jobs being created in the latest trading year.

2021 GBA breakdown

“We are incredibly proud that the Growing Business Awards are such a showcase for the breadth and depth of talent in the entrepreneurial business community - not only in terms of specific standout companies, but also their collective contribution to the UK economy,” said Amber Ward, director at Growing Business Awards. “With a number of outstanding businesses already on board for this year’s edition, competition is bound to be stiff and I can’t wait to see more high-growth SMEs joining in before the end of June to shout about their success.”

Eligible businesses have until the 24th of June to enter the awards. Finalists will then get a chance to showcase their business and meet their peers at the GBA judging day in September - with this year’s judges including World of Books CEO Stephen Boobyer, King’s College entrepreneur-in-residence Dawn Bonfield MBE, Santander managing director Sean Longsdale, Bridges Fund Management partner Emma Thorne, Supper Club CEO Oliver Lingwood-Craddock, and many more business leaders and industry experts. This year’s ceremony takes place on 23rd November at Hilton London Bankside, where finalists can celebrate their success and develop new relationships with other standout UK business leaders.

If you would like to enter the Awards, book a table, of for any other queries, please contact gba@realdealsmedia.com or 020 7360 3460