High growth companies in the UK rise by 10 per cent, says Business Growth Fund

The Business Growth Fund has identified 4,353 medium-sized enterprises which it says are showing 'high levels' of growth.

The Business Growth Fund has identified 4,353 medium-sized enterprises which it says are showing ‘high levels’ of growth.

Research conducted by the Business Growth Fund (BGF), in association with Experian, finds that 4,353 UK companies have each posted aggregate growth of at least 33 per cent in the last three years.

The statistics, which marks the second time that the BGF has compiled its Growth Companies Barometer, also reveals that the companies found represent 17 per cent of the overall population of 24,955 UK companies with a turnover of £2.5 million to £100 million.

The BGF’s last Growth Companies Barometer was put together in May 2012 and recorded 4,000 ‘high growth’ companies. Despite the number of growing businesses increasing, the overall amount of those in the £2.5 million to £100 million bracket has fallen from 25,533.

Breaking the figures down further, the BGF says that those with turnovers between £2.5 million and £10 million perform most strongly, with 51 per cent of the high growth segment (2,202 firms).

Stephen Welton, CEO of the BGF, comments, ‘This data is encouraging. It shows that despite all the wider challenges posed by the macro-economic climate there has been more, and ever increasing, SME growth in the UK.

‘However, for real economic recovery, we need these growth figures to be higher and more broadly based. We need to see heightened levels of ambition and investment among business owners.’

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The Growth Companies Barometer also finds that, since 2000, the population of UK companies with a turnover of between £2.5 million and £100 million has consistently been around 23,000 to 25,000.

However, this population is ‘skewed’ to London and the South West which possess 8,518 and 4,177 of those businesses respectively (see below).

Regional breakdown
Region Total population High growth firms Incidence of high growth firms
Scotland 1,361 224 16.5%
North East 505 80 15.8%
North West 1,894 320 16.9%
Yorkshire & Humberside 1,508 269 17.8%
East Midlands 1,249 194 15.5%
West Midlands 1,614 249 15.4%
Wales 509 85 16.7%
East Anglia 2,158 358 16.6%
South East 4,177 711 17.0%
London 8,518 1,619 19.9%
South West 1,462 244 16.7%


Furthermore, over the same period there has been a shift in the sectors that these companies operate in – away from manufacturing and towards business services (see below).

Sector breakdown
Turnover Total population High growth firms Incidence of high growth firms
Agriculture 285 65 22.8%
Manufacturing 4,832 859 17.8%
Construction 1,698 176 10.4%
Wholesale 2,216 426 19.2%
Retail 2,812 478 17.0%
Transport 1,814 320 17.6%
Business services 5,755 1,095 19.0%
Finance 2,129 426 20.0%
Property 1,356 136 10.0%
Consumer services 1,129 180 15.9%
Public services 929 192 20.7%


Welton adds, ‘Not enough growth capital is currently being channeled into UK SMEs. Considering the possible universe of good businesses seeking finance to support growth, this is a missed opportunity.

‘But we also need fundamental cultural change. Aspiration and ambition is critical to growth. We should make no apology for it, and we need to create a culture where it is applauded and supported.’

GrowthBusiness will be providing an exclusive look at the Business Growth Fund’s portfolio later this week. Sign up for the Entrepreneurship News newsletter here to make sure you don’t miss out.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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