• All Good named Growth Champion of the Year
  • Mark Brownridge, EISA Director General, crowned Industry Champion
  • MMC Ventures named Growth Investor of the Year
  • Rory Bremner presided over the exclusive black tie awards dinner attended by 450 industry decision makers at the Royal Lancaster in London
  • 16 prestigious awards presented to the UK’s SME investment ecosystem luminaries
  • Keynote speakers Chris Philp MP and Alex Cheatle, CEO and Founder of Ten Group, highlighted the importance of tax-efficient investments in supporting UK SMEs
  • Visit growthinvestorawards.com for details of winners and runners-up in all 16 categories


Last night, at the Royal Lancaster in London, 450 leading decision makers from the UK’s vibrant SME investment ecosystem celebrated their stellar successes at the third annual Growth Investor Awards, organised by Intelligent Partnership.

Rory Bremner presided over the exclusive black tie awards dinner, spanning 16 different categories.

Chris Philp MP, entrepreneur and Parliamentary Private Secretary to HM Treasury Ministers, gave the first keynote speech of the evening.

His speech captured the zeitgeist of the evening. He told the packed room: “We need to foster a culture of entrepreneurship. Success should be admired as something to be emulated, not envied. And no-one should fear failure. Senator Robert F Kennedy said: “Only those who dare to fail can achieve.”

Philip gave an important nod to the government’s Autumn Budget, which will be delivered to parliament on November 22. He said:

“The government’s recent consultation on financing growth, part of the Patient Capital Review, recognises that start-up and growth capital is still not as readily available as it should be. I believe there are opportunities to widen the scope of VCT, SEIS and EIS. But at the same time, we must ensure that very low-risk or mainly asset-based investments are not unfairly benefitting from what are supposed to be schemes to incentivise risk capital.”

The prestigious ceremony featured a second keynote speech from Alex Cheatle, CEO and Founder of TEN Group, on his company’s stages of growth and how magic can happen when great investors meet promising entrepreneurs.

Cheatle explained the vital role that supportive capital has played during Ten Group’s growth journey.

“In the next few weeks Ten Group is planning to list on AIM and take the business to the next level. Every single stage of our journey has depended on capital that has wanted to invest in us and allow us to develop. What has been fantastically useful is having shareholders that have given businesses like mine the advantage of their knowledge of being invested across multiple other businesses.”

Cheatle commended engaged investors for asking him detailed questions about the challenges his business faces, which has forced him to interrogate his business and challenge the decisions he has made, and even make changes. He said that this dialogue with investors has been extremely useful in “re-energising” him to update the company’s “vision”, which in turn he shares with his employees and customers. He added:

“I’m delighted to be an entrepreneur that has only got a business because of capital.” He thanked the investment community for the positive outcomes that investors create, when “great capital meets good entrepreneurs”.

The Growth Investor Awards have consistently showcased the resounding successes of investment providers, growth companies and financial intermediaries in the UK SME investment ecosystem. Together, they support impressive outcomes for high-potential SMEs, striving to bridge the productivity gap, and creating jobs and wealth across the UK.

Guy Tolhurst, Managing Director at Intelligent Partnership, said:

“Progress matters. We need to be more aware of the unconscious bias that draws us towards people just like us across all parts of the SME investment ecosystem. The UK is one of the best places to start a business, but for it to become one of the best places to scale a business, we need to campaign for opportunity and success for all.”

Margot James MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, commented:

“It is events like these – where the business community comes together to both reward and recognise laudable achievements – that instil in us all a great sense of pride in the UK. We are working hard to support businesses and entrepreneurs across the UK to ensure they can access the finance and wider support to grow and have the right conditions for companies to invest in the long term. Events like the Growth Investor Awards do a great service to that end. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone who received an award and hope this serves as inspiration to others to start and build their own businesses.”


2017 Growth Investor Awards highlights

All Good claimed the marquee Growth Champion of the Year award, which was presented by sponsor Guy Rigby, Head of Entrepreneurial Services at Smith & Williamson. The panel of awards judges identified Gateshead-based snacks company All Good as a perfect example of how timely investment and the right support can see a fledgling brand grow at an extraordinary rate. The shortlist featured numerous exemplary scale-up SMEs including Blow LTD, Chop’d, Horizon Care and Education, Housekeep, Inspiresport, Laundrapp and Lineup Systems.

Mark Brownridge, Director General of the Enterprise Investment Scheme Association (EISA), was selected by the awards’ advisory board as the 2017 Industry Champion, and received his award from Guy Tolhurst, Managing Director of Intelligent Partnership. Mark was praised for his tireless efforts raising EISA’s profile and awareness of the Enterprise Investment Scheme more generally across the UK’s thriving SME ecosystem.

MMC Ventures was crowned 2017 Growth Investor of the Year, which was presented by sponsor Henry Whorwood, Senior Consultancy Associate at Beauhurst, beating off a veritable who’s who of UK venture capital managers, and winning particular praise for its culture of longevity and efforts to help companies secure next-stage funding.

Dennis Hall of Yellowtail Financial Planning took the Financial Adviser of the Year prize, which was presented by sponsor Jack Rose, Head of Tax Efficient Investments at LGBR Capital. Hall scooped the prize for his exemplary client-driven, risk-mitigation approach, excellent industry knowledge and impressive 11-year track record. Last year’s winner Jonothan McColgan of Combined Financial Strategies claimed the runner-up spot.

UBS scooped the Wealth Manager of the Year award for the second year running, and received its award from sponsor Lenny Norstrand, Partner at RAM Capital Partners. UBS was praised for its commitment to advising clients on appropriate risk exposures, goals-based assessment of investor appetite, and a strong manager due diligence culture. UBS beat off a formidable shortlist of Amicus Wealth, Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management, Cazenove Capital, Johnston Campbell and Westminster Wealth Management.

GV (formerly known as Google Ventures) won the inaugural Corporate Investor of the Year award, presented by Iain Wright, Chief Executive of North East of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC). GV was recognised as a leading corporate investor that has placed venture capital in UK SMEs and has made a significant impact on their growth story. GV has made a firm commitment to the UK, investing over half a billion pounds in 2017 alone into high-growth tech companies around the world. With life sciences and health being a core focus globally, it is also now actively investing in and supporting the UK’s fintech sector.

In categories aimed at investment providers, many leading companies won awards last night. Octopus Investments was named Best BPR Investment Manager – Pippa Brown, Director of Business Development at sponsor Reyker Securities presented the award. Daedalus Partners took Best SEIS Investment Manager, presented by sponsor Adam Lawrence of RW Blears Solicitors. Puma Investments took the trophy in the competitive Best AIM Investment Manager, with sponsor Gary Butcher, CEO of Exact Financial System, presenting the accolade. Foresight Group won the Best VCT Investment Manager award, which was presented by Andrew Richardson, Head of Client Services at La Fosse Associates. Mercia Fund Managers scooped the Best EIS Investment Manager prize, presented by Natasha Head, Sales Director at sponsor Mainspring Fund Services.

Downing Crowd beat two-time winner Syndicate Room to claim Best Investment Platform – Irene Graham, CEO of the ScaleUp Institute presented the award. Oxford Capital was rewarded for addressing a key social issue in a creative way, while facilitating rapid growth at the same time, and was presented with the 2017 Most Impactful Investment award by sponsor Gillian Roche-Saunders, Head of Bates Wells Braithwaite Compliance. A massive 37x return on original investment and proactive investee support saw YFM Equity Partners come out on top as the Exit of the Year winner, presented by Alex Evans, Programme Director at The Supper Club.

In a hotly contested award, Seedrs won the Industry Game Changer award, presented by sponsor Andrew Marris, Founder and Managing Director of MICAP, for its leading role in crowdfunding, both fundamentally enhancing the investment market for investors and the entrepreneurial businesses they invest in. Amid intense competition for the inaugural Best Angel Syndicate award, Startup Funding Club took the top prize, praised by the judges for investing in very promising businesses, and featuring a network of experienced and highly qualified sector experts who support and guide businesses on their growth trajectories. Jenny Tooth, CEO of the UK Business Angels Association, was the presenter.

Tolhurst commented on the key rationale behind the judging process:

“By designing a judging process focusing on impact beyond investment for investee companies, the Growth Investor Awards enable the industry to demonstrate its unique contribution while celebrating its leading players. The credibility and prestige of these awards comes from the influential Advisory Board and an eminent panel of independent judges.”

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