Even as a child, Sunil Wickremeratne showed entrepreneurial promise. His small scale car-washing ventures have since been superseded by Progressive Computer, an IT recruitment agency which last year took £58 million in turnover.
Wicks, as he is known to friends, fell into IT recruitment by accident. Joining Computer Futures, a small but dynamic IT recruitment agency, in his early 20s, he was impressed by the way in which it gave its staff a share in the business and encouraged them to use their initiative.
By 1991, he had become the company's top salesman, but was frustrated by the 'golden handcuffs' of secure salary and bonuses. With the support of his erstwhile bosses, who took a stake in the new venture, he set up his own agency, Progressive Computer.
The 34 year old believes the company's success is built on two cornerstones.
First, the empowerment of staff, ongoing training and an atmosphere of healthy competition; and second, advertising - he spends about four times more than his nearest competitor. 'We speculate to accumulate,' he says.
The next step will be listing the company on the stock market to raise money for acquisitions in the US and Far East. 'We don't have any great plans for world domination. But if you are doing something well, you might as well grow with it.'.