Britain's Top 100 Entrepreneurs: Kindred Spirits

These top family-owned businesses range from a jewellery retailer and several housebuilders to a caterer, healthcare group and a sportswear manufacturer.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

24: FRED & PETER DONE - Done Brothers (Cash Betting)

The Done brothers were bookies' runners for their father, who ran what was then an illegal betting operation.

Bookmaker Fred Done will not have been happy with his beloved Manchester United's first game in the premiership. The 1-0 loss was bad enough, but losing to Chelsea was worse. He has a £1 million bet with fellow bookie Victor Chandler that United will finish above Chelsea this season. So far so bad. But Done is a wild card when it comes to footie bets. If Celtic had failed to win the Scottish premiership last season, he would have been sick as the proverbial parrot. In January, with half the season to go, he instructed his staff to pay out on Celtic winning. It was a typically bold move by Done, who with his brother Peter was raised on Salford's tough Ordsall estate in the 1950s. The two were bookie's runners for their father, who ran what was then an illegal betting operation. From a single betting shop, the pair now own the sixth-largest chain in Britain. Their other interests range from legal services to insurance and sports promotion and a restaurant. Profits at their main company - Done Brothers (Cash Betting) - soared to £10.4 million on £559 million sales in 2004. Their operations are expanding rapidly and are worth at least £180 million. About 400 new bookies' shops are planned, plus a call centre and interactive 'Bet Fred' website, creating 1,000 new jobs.

=33: JOHN COULTER & ANNE JONES - Warren James Holdings

John Coulter and his sister Anne Jones own Warren James Holdings, a Stockport jewellery retailing group with branches across Britain. The company is extremely low-key, and Coulter and Jones even more so. But they can't hide their huge success. Profits grew from £5.8 million in 1997-98 to £15 million in 2002-03, while sales similarly jumped from £31 million to £80.7 million.

=38: STEPHEN & PAUL HARRISON - Harron Homes

The Harrisons' North Yorkshire housebuilding company, Harron Homes, completes about 250 homes a year across Yorkshire and north-west England. It chalked up sales of £28.5 million in 2002-03, on which it made a profit of £4.3 million. The company is easily worth £34 million. At 33, Paul Harrison is the youngest entrepreneur on this year's list.

49: JOHN & JEFFREY ELLIOTT - Millwood Designer Homes

In 1997 Millwood Designer Homes took gold in the What House awards with its timber-frame six-bedroom country house, modelled on the 15th and 16th-century yeoman farmhouses of Kent and Sussex. It may have looked like an original, but instead of being draughty and costly to heat, the new home rates highly in energy efficiency measures. Millwood is renowned for sympathetically designed homes, with landscaping in keeping with the environment. The Elliott brothers own 75% of Millwood, the rest being held by 3i. In the year to March 2004, Millwood made a £4.3 million profit on £32.5 million sales. The Elliott family stake is worth about £24 million.

50: DAVID & LUISA SCACCHETTI - Mama's and Papa's

The Scacchetti's Huddersfield-based pram and pushchair company goes from strength to strength. In the year to March 2003, it had sales of £74.4 million and profits of £4.1 million. The business launched in 1980, after a pregnant Luisa Scacchetti struggled to find a stylish baby carriage. She flew to her native Italy and brought one back. It was such a hit with her neighbours that she opened a shop. Soon, there were queues outside the door and Mama's and Papa's was born. The business is run and owned by Scacchetti and her husband David, and is worth about £57 million.

51: RAJAN & SANJAY KUMAR - Rajan Group

Brothers Rajan and Sanjay Kumar now run the family's fashion distribution business founded by their father Lal Kumar, who remains chairman. Operating from its Manchester headquarters, the business has grown from an initial investment of just £33 to a multimillion fashionwear distribution empire with offices in London, New York, Dusseldorf, Madrid and Hong Kong. The operation has its own in-house design team and own-brand labels. In 2001-02, Rajan's profits were £7.8 million on sales of £87.7 million.

=52: MICHAEL & PAULINE COX - Hollybrook Homes

Working on developments in Southwark and east London propelled Hollybrook Homes to a sharp increase in profits for 2002-03, when it made £5.5 million profit on £36.3 million sales. With net assets of nearly £17 million, Hollybrook should easily be worth £33 million. It is owned by husband-and-wife team Michael and Pauline Cox.

=52: VIJAY & BHIKHU PATEL - Waymade Healthcare

Not content with the British market, the Patel brothers are expanding their Waymade Healthcare business overseas. Europe, the Middle East and Australasia are the first areas for expansion, with America the ultimate prize. The Patels are storming ahead with their ambitions to build Waymade into a future GlaxoSmithKline. In 2003, the company's profits hit £21.7 million on £285 million sales. On these figures, it is worth at least £380 million. Vijay Patel, a qualified pharmacist, and his brother Bhikhu, who trained as an architect, own all of Waymade. They grew up in straitened circumstances in Kenya and were educated in Britain. Vijay had opened 10 pharmacies before he was 30, when he moved into pharmaceutical wholesaling. The original chemist's chain - Chemys - was sold for about £10 million, though three branches have been kept, largely for sentimental reasons. Vijay still works the odd Saturday in his first shop. 'I never want to go back to living in poverty,' he says. With their record, the Patels won't have to.

62: TIM & ROBYN JONES - Charlton House

After completing an HND in hotel management, Robyn Jones's first job was washing up in a Cambridge school. She eventually became a catering manager and was working for a construction company when the 1991 recession hit and the whole catering division was made redundant. She had a phone, a car and a husband in work, so she started cold-calling for catering contracts. Her first client was Guide Dogs for the Blind. She and husband Tim, now chairman and FD, established Charlton House in 1991 on a weekly Government allowance of just £50. In 2003, it made a £701,000 profit on £32.2 million turnover. The Reading-based operation is wholly owned by the Joneses and is worth £15 million or more.

68: AFZAL & AKMAL KHUSHI - Jacobs and Turner

The Khushi brothers own all the shares in Jacobs and Turner, a Glasgow-based ski and sportswear clothing manufacturer and wholesaler. The business, incorporated in 1970, made just £123,000 profit on sales of £36.7 million in the year to June 2003, after directors' remuneration of £6.4 million. Adding £6 million of that to the bottom line takes the profit to £6.2 million and justifies a £50 million valuation on the business.

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