What we can learn from the UKs top 10 retailers

In popular imagination, the fastest way to grow a business is with an app or algorithm. Yet it is retail,
not tech, that dominated this year’s Growth Index, the definitive list of the UK’s 100 fastest growing
companies.

Growing pains: How to stay agile as you scale

GX leaders offer their advice for retaining entrepreneurial spirit. No company stays young forever. With success comes size, and size inevitably slows you down: eventually, today’s disruptors will themselves be disrupted.

The UK needsmore than one growth engine

The companies on this list are achieving exceptional things and deserve our warmest congratulations. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had more of them? For too long, we’ve been like a plane running on one engine, with opportunity limited for large sections of the population. To unleash the UK’s full potential we need to get the whole country firing.

How to make purpose practical

If you ask CEOs what their company’s purpose is, very few will say to make money. Most will reel off their mission – the thing they aim for that, if satisfied, will produce a financial return.

Money talks

There was a slight drop this year in the number of GX companies that had received venture capital or private equity funding, from 47 to 41.

A tale of two sectors

It’s been a bumper year for retail, with 26 companies making our top 100. That’s a significant improvement even on last year, when there were 21 (including those previously defined as fashion companies).

Do you need a degree to become a high-growth CEO?

There’s a clear correlation between education and career success, which is why the vast majority of FTSE CEOs have a degree. The proportion among GX leaders is notably less, with over three in ten attending the famed university of life.

Which sectors grew during Covid?

Not all of our fastest growing companies were rooted in science and technology. The fastest-growing sector among Growth Index companies was in fact Arts & Media.

Good growth: Business with purpose

Purpose has assumed a central place in business thinking over the past five years. Gone, at least, are the days when CEOs could comfortably defend Milton Friedman’s famous position that their business exists only to make a profit for its shareholders.