Magazine article Management Today

Britain's Top 100 Entrepreneurs 2006: Young Meteors

Magazine article Management Today

Britain's Top 100 Entrepreneurs 2006: Young Meteors

Article excerpt

Our youthful bosses, ranging from housebuilder and telecoms magnate to internet retailer, are united by their keen eye for a money-spinning deal.


Harron Homes, run by brothers Paul and Stephen Harrison, builds about 350 new houses each year, mainly in its heartland of Yorkshire and north-west England. But a big expansion further south is on the cards, with the opening of a new office in Tamworth, Staffs, last year and three new developments in the Wolverhampton area, doubling the firm's quota of Midlands sites. Harron Homes range in size from two-bed apartments and social housing to five-bedroom executive properties. Strong demand and rising house prices, with an average sale price per property of pounds 156,000, have pushed results at Northallerton-based Harron to profits of pounds 9.3m on pounds 55.5m sales in the year to June 2004.


MX Telecom, a West London-based telecoms group, has teamed up with companies such as the BBC and Endemol (the production firm behind Big Brother) to capture the potentially lucrative market for streaming live video footage to 3G mobile phone customers. MX's technology allows fans to watch TV shows live on their mobiles, and might just turn out to be the killer app that the 3G mobile phone networks have been waiting for. MX, founded in 2000 by its two owner-directors Thomas O'Donohoe and Mark Fitzgerald, has grown rapidly - in the year to June 2004, it made a pounds 328,000 profit on pounds 24.6m sales.


Christian Rucker studied fashion design and her first job was as an assistant to wedding dress designer Anneliese Sharpe. She joined Conde Naste as a receptionist, moving on to work on a number of the glossy publisher's magazines. She then went up to Cambridge to study journalism before landing a job at style bible Harpers & Queen. But she hankered after running her own business, and in 1993 started The White Company, selling white-themed bedlinen and homewares, mainly via mail order and online. She owns 99% of the company, which made pounds 293,000 profit on pounds 28.7m sales in 2003-04.


Shaf Rasul runs and owns E-Net Computers, which reckons to be the largest storage media distributor in Europe, and the biggest buyer of DVD and CD-R media in the world. It has longstanding partnerships with the world's top optical media manufacturers and has recently opened a global import/export hub in duty-free Dubai, as well as a new pounds 5m distribution centre at Edinburgh airport. Rasul set up E-Net in 1999 on the back of various property interests in his native Edinburgh. In 2004-05, the company made pounds 4.5m profit on pounds 67.2m sales.


For someone whose first business went bust in 1991, Penny Streeter has made an extraordinary recovery. She was a branch manager for a recruitment firm when, in 1989, she made the fateful decision to go it alone just before recession struck. Second time around, she did it differently, taking a small desk in the corner of a friend's office and moonlighting as a DJ at childrens' parties. Her big break came when asked to supply care assistants for a nursing home: it turned out to be an untapped market.

The Croydon-based Ambition operation has grown rapidly, meeting a strong demand for nursing staff, and Streeter is now worth pounds 50m by our measure. …

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