17 impressive growth businesses in Stroud

There's a huge hive of activity in the hills and valleys of Stroud. From bakers, engineers and IT experts to energy suppliers, it's a district that's producing plenty for businesses and consumers of all kinds across the UK and beyond. SoGlos dives in to take a closer look.

By Emma Luther  |  Published
Stroud firms like Ecotricity have seen turnover jump an incredible 61 per cent in just one year.
In partnership with PoloWorks  |  polo.works
PoloWorks

PoloWorks is the leading Lloyd’s and London Market insurance services provider and comprises of two divisions — Polo Managing Agency (PMA) and Polo Commercial Insurance Services (PCIS). PMA is a turnkey managing agency at Lloyd’s which offers a full suite of services for all stages of a syndicate’s life cycle, ranging from governance and oversight through to processing, IT and complete back-office support.

Business is booming across the Stroud district. Confidence is high and investors are keen to capitalise on the good stuff going on. The recent multimillion revamp of The Stroud hotel in the heart of the town shows Stroud itself is rising up the ranks as a tourist destination too.

In partnership with PoloWorks, SoGlos takes a closer look at some of biggest success stories in the district.

Renishaw

Wotton-under-Edge-based engineering heavyweight Renishaw has seen worldwide growth and record revenue performance year after year — and as one of the county's biggest employers, its staff numbers have been growing consistently year-on-year, too. 

This world leader in measuring and manufacturing systems has 5,175 employees across the world with around half of them based in Gloucestershire. Its accounts up to 30 June 2023 show revenue standing at a very strong £688.6 million up from £671.1 million in 2022. The number of graduates and apprentices has also grown with 343 employed, up from 296 the year before.

NOV Downhole Eurasia

This Stonehouse-based business operates as a division of its parent company National Oilwell Varco, which has scores of bases worldwide. It is a market leader in providing traditional and bespoke tools for complex drilling projects, including 'directional drilling, fishing, well intervention and re-entry'.

NOV Downhole Eurasia has 108 staff and turned over $469.19 million in the year ending Friday 31 December 2022 up from $348.29 million in 2021. It proudly announced a new contract in May 2024 to support Japan’s offshore wind sector. Engineering for the project will take place in Stonehouse and Rivoli in Italy.

Immersa

Dursley-based renewable energy company Immersa has increased its staff team in the last year, hiring five new employees since 2022, taking its total number of team members to 13. 

Net assets have almost doubled in the last financial year from £584,389 in 2022 up to £999,180 in 2023. The firm also made it into The Sunday Times 100 List of the fastest-growing private companies in the UK in 2023, coming in at number 24 in the prestigious list.

The BBQ Society

The BBQ Society has grown ever since it was created by husband-and-wife team Sophie and Ben Williams in late 2020, when they both found themselves furloughed from their jobs. The business has gone from strength to strength since its humble beginnings in their back garden. 

It now has two venues: its original home on Morelands Trading Estate in Gloucester which opened in April 2021 and a second venue at Five Valleys Shopping Centre in Stroud, with a team of five staff serving up some of the best quality barbecue food in the county. Assets have doubled from £11,293 in 2022 to £20,020 in 2023.

Amphenol Trackwise Designs

Trackwise, which has bases in Tewkesbury and Stonehouse, was bought up by Amphenol, one of the world's largest connector manufacturers, in December 2023 with the goal of transforming Trackwise into the leading cell connection system production company in Europe.

Amphenol's turnover stood at a mighty £37.3 million in 2022, up from £31.9 million in 2021. Overall profit for the year up to 31 December 2022 soared to a staggering £43.2 million. Amphenol Trackwise Designs also celebrated winning the King’s Award for Enterprise in April 2023.

PHINIA Delphi UK

Known to all as Delphi Technologies until October 2020 when it was taken over by BorgWarner Technologies, the Stonehouse operation remains a strong leader in electrified propulsion systems — electric engines for vehicles.

Now known as PHINIA Delphi UK, the thriving firm remains a champion of apprentices and saw turnover rise from £543 million in 2021 to £589 million in 2022.        

Hobbs House Bakery

This Gloucestershire institution, known for its spectacular sourdough bread, pastries and cakes, has four shops across the Cotswolds and a busy and expanding bakery in Chipping Sodbury which added an additional 10,000 sq ft to the bakery at the end of 2023.

Hobbs House Bakery, which first started baking in Nailsworth more than 20 years ago, now employs 179 staff in total (up from 164 in 2022), from the bakery to the back office. And in 2023, its GiFt Gluten Free loaf was voted Britain’s Best Loaf.

Howard Tenens

Accounts for the year ending Friday 31 September 2022 for this Stroud-based logistics firm highlight escalating global economic and UK political turmoil leading to 'difficult trading conditions'.

Nevertheless, Howard Tenens lifted turnover by 11 per cent, reaching £124.213 million with staff numbers at almost 700. Seventy per cent of revenues come from transport, with much of its fleet now running on hydrogenated vegetable oil.    

Dentsply IH

This Stonehouse-based dental implant specialist saw turnover for the year ending Friday 31 December 2022 rise from €112.8 million the previous year to €120.2 million. The company said the leap was the result of the business recovering to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dentsply IH's operating profit increased to €6.4 million from €1.9 million the year before and admin costs dropped dramatically to €3.8 million from €31.1 million resulting in a big leap in net profit from €1.6 million in 2021 to an incredible €47.1 million in 2022. 

Ecotricity

Turnover at this Stroud-based green energy provider jumped an astonishing 61 per cent for the year ending 30 April 2023 to £540.8 million, up from £336 million in 2022.

Ecotricity's pre-tax profit hit £44.7 million, up from £9.7 million in 2022, with the firm saying a prudent hedging strategy is helping to mitigate the risk of volatile power prices and enabling margins to be maintained. It also paid off its Coronavirus business loan in full, one year early.

Futura Foods UK

This Dursley-based Mediterranean cheese specialist has seen profits soar from £858,745 in 2022 to £3.1 million in 2023 and net assets have risen too from £6.34 million to £8.5 million.

Futura Foods UK is expecting an increase in profitability in 2024 but remains wary of the wars in Ukraine and Gaza potentially hiking supply chain costs. Staff numbers were estimated at 46, up from 39 in 2022.

Dairy Partners

This Stonehouse-based business supplies dairy products to the UK foodservice and export sectors, principally grated and block cheese.

Turnover for the year ending Friday 31 December 2022 grew from £104.3 million in 2021 to £138.9 million, an increase of 33 per cent, riding through challenging market conditions with confidence and looking to the future with new product and market development to stay ahead of competitors. Dairy Partners employs an estimated 180 staff.

Smith's (Gloucester)

This Stonehouse-headquartered business is dedicated to the collection, treatment and disposal of non-hazardous waste and construction of civil engineering projects.

A family business founded by Alan Smith in 1982, Smith's now employs two generations — and in the year ending Friday 30 September 2022 it turned over £74.48 million, up from £61.4 million the previous year. Staff numbers grew from 484 to 570, too.     

UK Power Solutions

One of the UK’s leading multi-utility connection providers for new-build residential, industrial and commercial projects, this Stonehouse firm has continued to invest heavily by increasing headcount, providing a platform for further growth.

While turnover at UK Power Solutions dropped five per cent to a healthy £63.55 million, staff numbers were up from 374 to 412 for the year ending Thursday 31 March 2023. Orders were up 11 per cent too with an increase in residential projects.

Greiner Bio-One

This Stonehouse-headquartered firm focuses on the distribution of medical and scientific products. Although customer access has not returned to pre-Covid-19 levels yet, the firm still achieved a healthy turnover of £26.08 million for the year ending Saturday 31 December 2022 with staff numbers standing at 46 up from 43 in 2021.

Greiner Bio-One said the war in Ukraine has had a significant impact on its supply chain and energy costs. But confidence in the future remains strong, from its new 53,500 sq ft office and warehouse at the Stroudwater 13 Business Park which opened at the end of 2023. By doubling the size of its warehouse, it's made plenty of space for future growth.

Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust

Gloucestershire-headquartered Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust received a huge financial boost with its biggest ever donation of £21 million from insurer Aviva in June 2023. Income for the year ending Thursday 31 March 2023 stood at a strong £26.1 million with staff numbers rising from 360 in 2022 up to 420. 

An inspiring force for good, its aim is to restore and conserve the wetlands at Slimbridge — and it counts television presenter and environmentalist, Kate Humble, as its president.

Domestic Science Home

From humble beginnings 10 years ago, this charming home and lifestyle store with headquarters in Nailsworth has expanded to include beautiful bases in Tetbury and Stow-on-the-Wold, with 25 employees running the stores. It marked its anniversary by expanding its flagship base in Nailsworth to double the size in 2023.

Domestic Science Home's popular cafes in Nailsworth and Tetbury attract busy brunch crowds which have boosted the company balance sheet assets to £515,623 (up to 31 May 2023) from £432,286 the year before.

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