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The Business Magazine launches the 2021 edition of the Thames Valley SME 100 Growth Index

By Jo Whittle
6 July 2021

The annual Thames Valley SME 100 Growth Index recognises and promotes the region’s high-growth small and medium-sized enterprises.

To be included in the listing, businesses need to be based in the Thames Valley and to have grown their turnover significantly in the past year. The listing only includes independent, private companies, headquartered in the region, with a turnover of no less than £1 million and no more than £20m. This information is gathered and analysed by The Business Magazine using recognised data sources such as Companies House and Fame.

The 2021 edition of the Thames Valley SME 100 Growth Index is sponsored by law firm Herrington Carmichael, commercial property consultants Hicks Baker and corporate finance advisers Wilson Partners.

Despite a turbulent past year for companies regardless of sector, growth has not stopped, and several industries stand out: 20% of this year’s fastest growth companies are in IT and related services, a further impressive 20% in tech & engineering, 7% in financial services, 9% in construction. 

More than 60% of the companies that qualified for the Growth listing are new additions, which shows the resilience, energy and resourcefulness of entrepreneurs in the region. Cumulatively these 100 fast-growth companies have an annual turnover of £1040m, which is 3.5% higher than last year’s listing members. This year’s cohort create an impressive 7880 jobs, up 200 versus 2020’s listing members.

Top of the Index this year and new to the listing, with incredible growth, is Exscientia – a world-leading pharmatech company based in Oxford using AI to precision engineer future drugs – ‘spearheading the drug discovery revolution with the first AI-designed molecule to reach clinical trials’.

In second place, Autino, another new company to the listing, based out of Reading, delivers a variety of innovative SaaS-based solutions digitally transforming the automotive market, in a bid to ‘build and support the world’s best automotive ecosystem through creative problem solving’.

Yet another newcomer – Feefo, based in Petersfield, is in third place – not your ‘typical reviews company’. Feefo applies smart technologies to customer reviews, allowing businesses to access technology and support in order to better connect with their customers and to build their brand.

The Business Magazine congratulates all the companies that qualified for this year’s TV SME 100 Growth Index. All TV SME members are now invited to enter the nominations to this year’s awards, which will recognise outstanding achievements in six categories.

We will celebrate the best of business growth in the region, at a drinks reception on 30 September.

Meet the Awards judges

Alistair McArthur - Herrington Carmichael

"Hello, I am Alistair McArthur a partner and head of employment at Herrington Carmichael Solicitors. Herrington Carmichael has been a sponsor of the SME100 Growth Awards for several years now, we are the sponsors of the ‘Growth over £10million award’ and the ‘Growing the workforce award’. First and foremost, everyone on the SME100 list is a winner, all the businesses listed have already achieved so much to make the list in the first place, however, our categories aim to take the successful growth already achieved by the listed companies and add additional criteria to create an outstanding winner in each category."

Herrington Carmichael is a full-service law firm offering legal advice to UK and international businesses as well as individuals and families.

Rated as a ‘Leading Firm 2021’ by the legal directory The Legal 500 and ranked in Chambers UK. Herrington Carmichael has offices in London, Camberley and Wokingham. Our historic connection with our local area consolidates our position as a leading source of legal advice in Surrey, Berkshire, Hampshire and the Thames Valley region. 

We believe in our traditional values of excellent service and value for money and our clients appreciate our innovative, proactive and friendly approach. It is the long-term client relationships that are the foundations of our 175-year-old business.

Herrington C

Giles Blagden - Hicks Baker

Giles Blagden, managing director of commercial property specialist Hicks Baker, comments: "In the 'Tech' category we are looking at companies which show particular creativity and innovation within their business sector, through the use of technology and the differences it makes to their customers and or those who use it.'

'The 'One to Watch' award will be won by a company whose growth in the opinion of the judges is likely to be the strongest over the short to medium term."

Hicks Baker is a leading independent firm of commercial property specialists and chartered surveyors based in central Reading, focused on supporting property owners and occupiers throughout the Thames Valley and southern England address their property needs.

The firm has a strong track record of helping clients at all stages of the property cycle – from the acquisition of development sites, via lettings, asset and property management and building surveying, to the sale of investment properties. Hicks Baker also provides respected research and market commentaries.

"As commercial property agents, we see many types of business. None are more exciting than the dynamic start-ups and fast-growing businesses whose property needs continuously evolve and for whom we can help influence their property strategy. These awards provide us with the opportunity to engage further in the business community and help those high achieving shortlisted businesses on our patch reach the next level of their development that bit sooner", adds Blagden.

Adam Wardle, Ross Wilson - Wilson Partners

"We are Wilson Partners, a group of business enthusiasts based in the heart of the Thames Valley, who just happen to be accountants and we’re here to help you realise your ambitions. We combine the financial expertise, experience and accessibility of our talented team with a deep understanding of our clients to help achieve their goals.'

'This year we are excited to be sponsoring the Thames Valley SME 100 Growth Index for the third year running. The two awards we are sponsoring are 'The SME Top 100 Growth Award – below £10 million' and the 'Leadership Through Challenging Conditions' award."

Adam Wardle and Ross Wilson, both of Wilson Partners join the rest of the judging panel for the awards.

Adam Wardle, head of corporate finance, said “We love these awards as they are a great example of the fantastic businesses we have operating here in the Thames Valley, showing great growth even through the challenging times we have all experienced. That will be what we are looking for in the management teams and companies”

Ross Wilson added “Having operated in the Thames Valley for well over 40 years, I never cease to be amazed by the quality of business and the talent at their helm who deserve to be recognised. I can’t wait to see what they have to offer in this year’s awards”