18 impressive growth businesses in Gloucester

There are plenty of Gloucester-based firms starting 2024 on a strong footing. SoGlos takes a closer look at 18 key businesses going from strength to strength in the city.

By Emma Luther  |  Published
Gloucester is building on its historic roots and forging some fantastic business growth for the future.
In partnership with PoloWorks  |  polo.works

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.

Gloucester is known for its rich history, with millions of visitors flocking to the cathedral and historic docks, but what does its future hold?

In partnership with fast growing insurance specialist PoloWorks, SoGlos takes a look at the big business picture across the city and discovers that, for many local firms, the future is very bright indeed.

Gloucester Rugby

Few businesses in Gloucestershire inspire the kind of passion that drives Gloucester Rugby, with huge support for both the men's and women's teams. And that's reflected in the latest financial figures with overall turnover in 2022 soaring to an incredible £17 million, up from £10 million in 2021.

A new marketing director was appointed in December 2023, with Nicol McClelland poised to raise the profile of the club in 2024. And while there was a slight fall in commercial and administrative staff, supporters will be pleased to note there was a rise in playing staff from 100 to 106, demonstrating the club's commitment to the game and its fans. 

Pro Global

One of Gloucestershire's fastest growing businesses, insurance expert Pro Global deals with some of the most unusual and complex policies in the insurance industry, from footballers' legs to cruise ships. It has offices in the USA, Europe and Latin America, with its biggest office in Gloucester, overlooking the docks. 

Its latest trading report released this February 2024, reflects on 12 per cent revenue growth in 2023, team expansion of more than 50 per cent over the last four years, with 750 staff now on its books, and ambitious targets of amassing more than £50 million in revenue for 2024.

Gardiner Bros & Co 

Gardiner Bros & Co  has experienced immense growth since the family business began more than 160 years ago — and it's not resting on its laurels. The footwear and workwear specialist intends to double its sales from 2022 to 2027, through an ambitious five-year plan to exploit digital channels.

In June 2023 it opened two massive warehouses, quadrupling its picking space, giving the thriving firm the chance to stock a larger range of brands as well as speeding up its deliveries.

Prima Dental

One of Gloucestershire's biggest manufacturing success stories, Prima Dental is known all over the world for its precision dental products and has received not one, but two Queen's Awards for enterprise and international trade. In 2022, it generated £37.6 million of international sales, an increase of £8.5 million in 2021. During 2022, the group also invested £2.77 million in new equipment for continued production growth. 

The business's exporting prowess has also been recognised by the Department for Business and International Trade as a Highly Commended Business within manufacturing from the 'Made in the UK, Sold to the World' awards, as well as being awarded patents in the UK and US for its unique milling tools. 

Stewart Golf

The world’s leading manufacturer of follow and remote-control golf trolleys is also one of the UK's fastest growing businesses. Stewart Golf which celebrated 20 years of trade in 2023, has grown its turnover by 223 per cent since 2019. It has also increased its staff numbers from 14 people in 2019 to 35 in 2022, as well as expanding its factory space by 50 per cent to accommodate global demand for its unique golf trolleys. 

The Quedgeley-based business has also grown its management team and invested in leadership training, to equip its senior staff with the tools to be effective leaders and managers for its growing workforce. In 2023 it opened a new customer care centre in Texas along with a new distribution centre in Nevada to reduce shipping times for more than 90 per cent of its US customers.

The BBQ Society

The BBQ Society was created by husband-and-wife team Sophie and Ben Williams in late 2020, when they both found themselves furloughed from their jobs. Since then the business has gone from strength to strength from 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 staff serving up some of the best quality barbecue food in the county. 

MKM Building Supplies

Known as the UK's largest independent builders merchants, MKM opened its 20,000-square-foot Gloucester site in November 2022 at the former RAF Quedgeley.

Since then, it has built up a diverse team of 19 colleagues, spanning senior manager positions including branch directors and assistant branch manager; specialist staff including a heating and plumbing manager and kitchen and bathroom designers; through to HGV and van drivers, yard foremen and yard assistants. Its founder David Kilburn had an auspicious start to 2024 when he received a CBE in January for growing the firm to 116 branches with a collective £1 billion turnover.

Wheatway Solutions

Wheatway Solutions has seen significant growth over recent years, with its flagship brand, Gyru-Star Compact Screening Systems, offering an affordable, reliable and environmentally-conscious screening solution to the demolition and construction industry.

The company has increased staff numbers by 40 per cent across all areas of the organisation — with positions ranging from a T level student placement all the way up to senior management. The business also works closely with the University of Gloucestershire and The Growth Hub to facilitate student placement programmes and graduate schemes, to continue developing its employee roster. The firm's net assets rose from £1.1 million in 2021 to £1.7 million to 2022.

Roberts Limbrick

Gloucester-based architect Roberts Limbrick reached the milestone of employing 101 members of staff in 2022, following the launch of its own in-house interior design department in 2020 and its new landscape architecture department in 2022. 

Its expansion continues, as the firm opened a London office in March 2023, allowing it to further enhance the services it provides to businesses all across the UK. The firm also provides work experience opportunities to around 20 university and college students each year. Turnover is healthy too, rising from £8.7 million in 2021 to £9 million in 2022.

EDF Energy

Ooh la la, this is a firm that brings in the big bucks. Although French-owned, it is long-standing in Gloucestershire and has its base at Gloucester Business Park. 

Its UK head office is in London, but EDF Energy has confirmed the centre of operations for the generation side of its business is in Brockworth. Revenue stood at £10.9 billion for the year ending Friday 31 December 2022 up from £6.1 billion in 2021 and its total number of staff was 825.

Mears Group PLC

Brockworth-headquartered public company Mears Group provides and manages 17,000 homes for local and central government and is responsible for keeping 750,000 social housing homes in the UK in good repair.

It has an estimated 2,745 employees nationwide and in 2022 its turnover was £757 million — an increase from £644 million in 2021. The company is gearing up to boost the prospects of the next generation too as it takes on up to 120 new apprentices for 2024.

Barnwood Group

A builder as synonymous with Gloucester as it is with quality, this mighty group of Gloucester-headquartered businesses saw turnover for the year ending Friday 31 December 2022 reach £94 million and staff numbers hit 198. Barnwood Group described its year as ‘encouraging’ in what it called ‘a difficult year for the industry’.

Its review of the business also praised staff for going above and beyond with their commitment and performance as it recorded a profit of £1.4 million, far exceeding 2021's profit of £142,807. 

Newland Homes

Another Gloucester-headquartered housebuilder faring well is Barnwood-based Newland Homes. 2021 was an outstanding financial year for the firm, bouncing back from Covid-19 restrictions, so the latest financial report reflects on its 2022 performance compared with 2020 to give a more rounded and realistic benchmark.

Describing 75 per cent of 2022 as making the most of a strong market, the firm suffered slightly in the last quarter thanks to political fallout. Turnover rose 36 per cent to an incredible £67.09 million in the year ending 31 December 2022 compared to the same time in 2020, when it reached £41.96 million. Profit before tax increased 78 per cent from £6.37 million in 2020 to £11.32 million in 2022. Staff numbers were estimated at 74. 

Ecclesiastical Insurance

This long-established firm may be famous for its insurance services, but it's so much more than that, too. Ecclesiastical Insurance employs an estimated 500 staff in Gloucestershire and, as part of the Benefact Group, achieved its long-standing goal of donating £200 million to charity since 2016.

Gross written-premiums at the Brockworth-headquartered firm grew 15 per cent to £558.61 million in the year to 31 December 2022. A highlight of the year was a three-year agreement to supply financial advice to the Church of England Pension Board. In 2022, revenue rose to £1 million from £966,474 in 2021 and charitable giving from the Benefact Group increased 18.1 per cent to £22.8 million in 2022 up from £19.3 million in 2021.

EV Downton

Once known as the mighty CM Downtown, this former family logistics firm is now under the wing of EV Cargo, but remains in Gloucester operating as EV Downton with its head office still in Moreton Valence.

Turnover for the year ending 31 December 2022 was a very healthy £140 million, an increase of almost £10 million on the previous year, with the business employing 1,203 staff. And, impressively, gross profit doubled from £10 million in 2021 to £20 million in 2022.

G-TEKT Europe Manufacturing

This award-winning global manufacturer is a white-label manufacturer of the very highest calibre. If you drive a BMW or Honda, the chances are a large part of the car’s structure was designed and built in Gloucester by this company. 

G-TEKT Europe Manufacturing employs 584 staff at its base in Gloucester Business Park and in the year ending 31 March 2023, it turned over an estimated £115.34 million up from £104.58 million in the previous year. The firm has been proudly advocating apprenticeships for over a decade and heaps praise on the passion, creativity, dedication and fresh ideas of its yearly intake.

Gillman's Electrical Group

This family firm with a well-established shop front off St Oswalds Road in Gloucester is a major operation, supplying, servicing and maintaining budget and premium white goods not just to customers in Gloucestershire, but for new-build homes nationwide.

In the year ending Friday 31 December 2022, the Gillman's Electrical Group company balance sheet showed a profit of £20 million, while staff numbers stood at 112.

Advanced Innergy Holdings

A global leader in the engineering and manufacture of specialist materials, insulation and passive fire protection systems, Quedgeley-based Advanced Innergy Holdings said it has seen 'significant improvements' in the year ending Friday 30 September 2022, despite the indirect impacts of the Ukraine conflict.

Turnover was up from £47.19 million to £63 million and staff numbers were estimated at 411. It continues to look to the future with 10 per cent of its revenue invested in extensive research and development programmes to develop new products. 

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