Britain's Top 100 Entrepreneurs 2007: Family Fortunes

So you need to be an eccentric loner to drive a successful SME? Apparently not. A look at MT's Top 100 Entrepreneurs table reveals five brotherly partnerships and four husband-and-wife teams that are doing just fine

by
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

=11. FRED & PETER DONE - Done Brothers (Cash Betting) & Peninsular Business Services

Fred Done put a £250,000 bet on England winning the World Cup last year at odds of 10-1. 'In 1966, I was earning £25 a week and put a bet on for £200. England did the business for me then.'

This time he could afford to lose. With his brother Peter, Fred was raised on Salford's tough Ordsall estate in the 1950s. They started out as bookie's runners for their father. From a single shop, the pair now own Britain's sixth-largest bookie's chain. Fred's Betfred online gambling operation is growing at breakneck speed on the back of online (and real world) poker tournaments.

It was brother Peter, though, who 20 years ago started up lucrative Peninsular Business Services as a legal advice sideline. The Dones' main betting operation has a parent company called Lightcatch, which in 2004-05 made just £1.2m profit on £751m sales. But adding in the brothers' salaries of £10.8m takes the bottom line to £12m. Leaguename, Peninsular's parent, made a good £5.6m profit on £45.19m sales in 2004-05. Add the £3.3m directors' pay and the profit is nearly £9m. Done operations should be worth £230m. With about £45m in salaries and dividends over 10 years, we add £30m to take the brothers' worth to £260m.

13. STEPHEN & PAUL HARRISON - Harron Group

Run by brothers Paul and Stephen Harrison, Harron Homes is so low-profile that many in the industry haven't heard of it. Yet it has already expanded beyond its own North Yorkshire turf, with developments in the north-west and the north Midlands.

The firm builds about 350 homes each year, including apartments and social housing, in line with current government quotas. Strong demand and rising house prices have helped profits at Northallerton-based Harron leap from £9.3m profit to nearly £17m on sales of £67.3m in the year to June 2005. On these results, it's easily worth £90m.

=32. MARK & MO CONSTANTINE - Lush Cosmetics

With its 'handmade' strapline, focus on fresh, natural ingredients and wackily named products like Buffy the Backside Slayer, Lush Cosmetics stores have won a strong high street presence. Lush was the brainchild of Mark Constantine and his wife Mo, the name apparently suggested by a customer.

Mark cut his teeth in the business supplying Body Shop, and set up his own shop in Poole. Until 1995, this was the only outlet, but today there are 379 scattered across the globe, including more than 20 in the US. The manufacturing base in Poole looks more like a hotel kitchen than a factory, with racks of giant saucepans hanging above steel worktops, while giant blenders whisk up organic ingredients into bath and beauty products.

The Constantines own half the business, which made £9.7m profit on £74.4m sales in the year to June 2005.

=32. DAVID & LUISA SCACCHETTI (pictured) - Mamas and Papas

With 32 stores in Britain and products that sell worldwide, Huddersfield-based pram and buggy business Mamas and Papas goes from strength to strength. It has now opened a London design studio to help new product development and maintain its position as the leading nursery brand in the UK.

In 2004-05, it turned in £5.1m profit on £92.5m sales, having diversified into baby clothes, toys and furniture as well as prams and buggies. The business was started in 1980 after Luisa Scacchetti's vain search in the UK for a stylish pram. She tried her native Italy; the pram she brought back was such a hit with friends and neighbours that she opened a shop to sell them. The Mamas and Papas business is run and owned by Scacchetti and her husband, David.

44. DAVID & ROBERT LANGMEAD - Natures Way Foods

As the newest functional food fashion, vitamin and mineral-rich seeds and pulses could take the prepared fresh produce sector by storm. And Natures Way Foods and Langmead Farms are leading the charge.

The Langmead family, led by David and Robert, has extensive farming interests in the Chichester area, supplying prepared salads and fresh produce. It counts Tesco, Sainsbury and Morrisons among its customers. Natures Way Foods made £2.8m profit on £72.5m sales in 2004-05.

65. DOUGLAS & IAIN ANDERSON - GAP Holdings

Glasgow-based tool- and plant-hire outfit GAP Group has made its first acquisition in a long time: Lincoln-based J&S Plant provides GAP with its 56th depot. But the move doesn't signal a change of policy: GAP's focus remains largely on developing greenfield sites, with two more openings (Swansea and south London) in prospect this financial year.

The group, employing 700-plus and now the UK's biggest independent tool- and plant-hire concern, was founded in 1969 by the late Gordon Anderson. It's now run and largely owned by his sons Douglas and Iain. In the year to March, GAP increased its profits from £7.6m to £8.1m on sales up £12m at £69m.

67. TIM & KIT KEMP - Firmdale Hotels

Over the past two decades, Tim and Kit Kemp have built themselves a tidy portfolio of six boutique hotels in central London. The latest - the Soho Hotel, on the site of an old NCP car park - opened in 2004 to rave reviews.

Kit is the design brains, while husband Tim does the property deals, spotting promising sites as he cycles around the capital. Tackling their projects one at a time, they supervise every detail, growing steadily, with the rare luxury of maintaining full control of the firm.

The Kemps started with student accommodation in east London, launching their first hotel, Dorset Square, in 1985. Their seventh, the 58-room Haymarket, is due to open this spring. Net assets at their main company, Firmdale Holdings, leapt from £65.5m to £84.9m in 2005-06.

69. AFZAL & AKMAL KHUSHI - Jacobs & Turner

In June 2006, Afzal Khushi, MD of Jacobs & Turner, received a CBE for services to business in Scotland. It's easy to see why. With his brother Akmal, he has made the Glasgow-based ski and sports-wear manufacturer and wholesaler into a world beater.

Trading under the Trespass brand name, the business (owned by the family since 1966) has expanded from winterwear into sportswear, summer clothing and skiwear. The brothers now have 24 retail outlets in the UK, plus franchises covering Holland, Spain and Denmark.

Trespass gear is exported to 50 countries. J&T made £11.3m profit on £40m sales in the year to June '05.

=72. STEPHEN & SARAH THOMSON - Thomson Intermedia

Founded in 1997 with just £30,000 by ex-Mintel directors Stephen Thomson and his wife Sarah, Bromley-based Thomson Intermedia floated on AIM in 2000 with a £30m valuation.

The firm provides media intelligence and ad tracking services to 300 clients, including Diageo, the BBC, Cahoot and other blue-chips. A recent tie-up with a subsidiary of Martin Sorrell's giant WPP ad group was seen as a breakthrough by the City; shares have soared as a result and the company is now worth nearly £78m.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime