Bar groups part of 1,000 inspiring companies driving UK economy

inception Group charlie gilkes duncan stirling

Bar operators have been named by the London Stock Exchange as among 1,000 of Britain’s most inspiring companies helping to drive the UK economy.

They include Inception Group, which owns and operates eight leading London venues, Barts, Maggie’s, Bunga Bunga, Mr Fogg’s Residence, Mr Fogg’s Tavern, Cahoots, Cocobananas and Beaver Lodge.

Another is ETM Group which has opened 15 venues since being formed in 2000 including The Botanist, The Well, The Jugged Hare, One Canada Square, Ealing Park Tavern and, most recently, its first outside of London, The Six Bells near Lavenham in Suffolk.

Launched by the Business Secretary, Savid Javid, at the London Stock Exchange, the 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain campaign champions fast-growing and dynamic small or medium-sized enterprises that are the unsung heroes and shining beacons of the British economy.

In finding the 1,000 private companies, the selection criteria requires companies to have shown not just growing revenue over at least three to four years, but also to have outperformed their sector peers, not just in terms of revenue but by either growth in employee numbers, square footage or number of filed patents.

Inception Group, founded by Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling (pictured), has seen its annual turnover jump from £9m to £12m this year alone, with a £15m turnover predicted for the next 12 months. This is in contrast to the group’s first year of trading in 2009 when it recorded a turnover of £493,858 and had a staff of only 12. It now employs a total of 260 staff across its nightspots and 30 at its headquarters in Victoria.

In the report, Duncan provides advice to entrepreneurs and the government. “A reduction in VAT and tax breaks for new businesses would help increase competitiveness, as would more readily accessible loans,” he suggested.

Ed Martin, who co-founded ETM Group with brother Tom Martin, said: “We’re very proud to have been recognised in the latest edition of London Stock Exchange’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report.

“The 15-and-a-half years since we set up ETM Group has flown by and things are far from slowing down. We opened three new venues last year, Ealing Park Tavern, The Botanist Broadgate Circle and The Six Bells in Suffolk and have plenty more exciting activities in the pipeline for 2016.”

At the launch of the report, Xavier Rolet, chief executive of London Stock Exchange Group, said: “High-growth SMEs are the driving force behind the UK economy, developing the skills, jobs and growth we need. But ambition alone is not enough – their success must be highlighted and their growth properly supported with appropriate finance.

“That’s why today’s event is so important: demonstrating the strong alliance between UK Government, financial market participants, investors, entrepreneurs and companies to support these inspiring businesses.

“Today’s celebration is fundamental to London Stock Exchange’s core, the need to support UK high-growth companies in their journeys from start-up to stardom and create an entrepreneurship revolution.”

Writing in the publication, Chancellor George Osborne said: “UK high-growth businesses are leading the charge in rebuilding our economy. These companies are the backbone of the British economy. They create high-quality, well paid jobs, innovate and drive economic growth. This government fully understands the need to support ambitious entrepreneurs and ensure they can access the finance they need to grow.”

A full searchable database of all of the companies along with a downloadable pdf of the publication can be found online at

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