The Fastest-Growing Companies in the UK | 2024

 13 June 2024
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We recently launched a new series detailing the fastest-growing companies in every country in the UK.

The UK is a major player in the business world, renowned for its vibrant and diverse economy, and each country —England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland—boasts its own unique economic strengths.

Based on our analysis, England had the highest total turnover at £794b. Whereas, Scotland’s heavy equipment and machinery, and civil engineering industries were particularly strong.

Northern Ireland had a higher total turnover (£22b) than Wales but Wales showed great strength in its repair, maintenance and servicing and manufacturing sectors.

Overall, each country brings something different but equally important to the UK business space.

Let’s take a look at the UKs high-growth landscape.

How we created our lists

To identify the fastest-growing companies in each country of the UK, we’ve calculated turnover growth between each company’s two most recent financial statements.

To be included in the analysis, a company must have had comparable statements for the last two financial years, reported at least £100k in turnover in their base financial statement, and hit one of our Growth Signals.

What are Growth Signals and how do we calculate them?

We know that just having data isn’t the answer — you also need to be able to interpret it.

That’s why we created Signals as a way to make our data easier to understand. Beauhurst Signals mean that our clients don’t need to be data analysts to do sophisticated work, they just need to hit a few buttons.

To determine Scotland’s fastest growing companies, we utilised Growth Signals. These are:

If a company is associated with any of these indicators, it will be assigned a Growth Signal.

The fastest-growing companies in Scotland

Discover the key insights and trends behind the high-growth economy in Scotland.

How can we tell if a company is growing?

When considering ‘growth’, we look at a number of indicators to decide whether a company is going through substantial growth — these are our Growth Signals that we mentioned earlier.

Over half of the companies with a Growth Signal (57%) hit our 20% Scaleup Growth Signal. This is our primary indicator for growth as it shows us that a company is rapidly expanding. But we also looked at a number of other signs of growth.

From our data we can see that 21% of UK high-growth companies received equity funding. Equity funding is a crucial indicator of growth as it reflects investor confidence and provides the necessary capital for expansion.

Accelerators offer startups intensive, short-term programs that include mentorship, networking opportunities, and often some seed funding. Out of the companies we analysed, 4% attended an accelerator.

A significant 37% featured on a high-growth list. High-growth lists, such as the Inc. 5000 or Deloitte Technology Fast 500, are curated based on criteria like revenue growth over a specified period. Being featured on such lists provides external validation of a company’s growth and market potential. It also enhances the company’s reputation, making it more attractive to investors, customers, and potential employees.

We also took a look at which of these companies also hit one or more of our Innovation Signals. These are signals that tell us whether a company is innovating and standing out amongst similar companies.

One of our Innovation Signals is academic spinouts. These are companies formed to commercialise research and innovations developed within universities or other research institutions. Academic spinouts often have strong technical foundations and access to cutting-edge technologies. From our analysis of the UK’s high-growth companies, 0.8% of the companies are an academic spinout.

5.1% of companies with a growth signal have received a large R&D grant. Receiving research and development grants is a strong indicator of a company’s commitment to innovation.

Another one of our Signals identifies whether a company has a patent. Across the UK’s high-growth ecosystem, 6.5% of companies have a patent. Holding a patent is a clear sign of innovation, as it indicates that the company has developed a unique technology or process that is legally recognised and protected.

The fastest-growing companies in Wales

Discover the landscape of high-growth companies in Wales. See which companies made the top ten list.

Mapping the UK’s high-growth landscape

From our search, there were 15,234 high-growth companies in the UK — totalling a massive £884b in turnover.

England had 13,467 high-growth companies, which equates to 88.4% of all the high-growth companies we looked at. England’s total turnover for high-growth companies was £794b.

Scotland followed in second place, with 916 high-growth companies (6% of all high-growth companies in the UK) and a total turnover of £51b.
With 2.7% of all high-growth companies was Northern Ireland. It had 410 high-growth companies, less than Wales (441) but had a higher turnover of £22b. Wales’ total turnover was £16b meaning it came in at the bottom of the UK countries.

The fastest-growing companies in Northern Ireland

Explore Northern Ireland’s rich high-growth ecosystem in the third instalment of our series.

The UK’s top industries

One key takeaway from our analysis is the recurrence of the same popular industries across each nation. Coming out in the top spot across all four countries is, distribution and wholesale, which is no surprise as the UK has a strong distribution network.

Property development and construction came in second place for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — and third place for England.

Manufacturing was high on the list for all countries as well. It came in third place for Wales, and fourth place for Northern Ireland — and while it didn’t make the top four places for England or Scotland, it still had a high proportion of representation. In England, 7.5% of high-growth companies were in the manufacturing sector, and 7.8% were in Scotland.

Then we start to see a bit more disparity between countries. Application software came in second place for England with a very significant 11.2%. There were also high numbers in England for online retailing.

Northern Ireland had a large proportion of companies (12.4%) in the tradespeople and trade services sector. It also saw a high percentage for repair, maintenance and servicing (10.5%), and parts and components (9.8%).

Meanwhile, Scotland had high percentages in heavy equipment and machinery, and civil engineering at 8.2% and 8.1% respectively.

In Wales, repair, maintenance and servicing and manufacturing both took up 8.8% of high-growth companies. With cars, motorcycles and other road vehicles, securing 8.6% of high-growth Welsh companies.

The fastest-growing companies in England

Find out England’s fastest-growing companies, and see the high-growth landscape as a whole.

Find this data for yourself

All the data we used to create these lists is available on our platform.

Find high-growth companies all across the UK, in any subset or niche. Whether you’re interested in the booming tech startups in Bristol, the innovative manufacturing firms in the Midlands, the dynamic financial services in Edinburgh, or the cutting-edge healthcare companies in Belfast, our platform has everything.

To find out more, book a demo below.

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