©Simon Luther Photography

In this report

Investors are eager to buy in to nimble, fast-moving private companies. No wonder business owners are in confident mood

Scramble to invest in lean sector

Private companies have a variety of ownership structures and form the backbone of the UK economy

Peter Usborne of book publisher Usborne
©Vicki Couchman

The winners revealed: UK Private Business Awards 2015

Prizes celebrate the dynamic, the profitable and the innovative companies

Brittelstand stymied by lack of growth and skills

UK’s mid-sized private companies struggle to match German counterparts

inside the east London Barclays Accelerator

Big business keeps close eye on start-ups

Incubators allow large companies harvest ideas, talent and edge from fledgling rivals

Carrie Hall

Families find executive talent and drive in female lines

Across the world, female board members are more evident in family businesses

Jonathan Guthrie

Opinion: Beware the pitch from equity’s cheerleaders

Jonathan Guthrie on why private business owners must be cautious when considering a flotation

Young adults perform practical tasks in the 'Honda Institute' as part of their Honda Apprenticeship Programme to become qualified Car Service Technicians on February 18, 2014 in Slough, England
©Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Persuading talent to stay remains tough

Finding and retaining skilled staff is a persistent problem for mid-sized businesses

Brompton bike

Opinion: Full of potential — but held back

Sajid Javid, secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, explains government help for the sector

Pictured: A Griffon Hoverwork worker working on one of the large passenger hovercrafts. Griffon Hoverwork, based in Southampton, is building two large passenger hovercrafts. Commissioned by Chris Batson for the Financial Times. © Tom Harrison/Solent News & Photo Agency UK +44 (0) 2380 458800
©Tom Harrison/Solent

British-made hovercraft ride crest of a wave

Griffon, the UK’s only maker of commercial hovercraft, exports 95% of its production

Who Made Your Pants?

UK social enterprise sector is booming

Ventures with altruistic missions contribute £24bn to the economy

UK case studies: listing and delisting

There are many advantages to a flotation, so why would anyone buy back a company?


Swimming against the tide brings its rewards

Often in the shadow of their quoted rivals, Britain’s growing number of private businesses are coming to the fore

Next generation: Start planning early to avoid family failures

Handing a business down through the family is never easy

Overseas sales: Economic recovery raises hopes of an export boost

Private companies can be at an advantage when it comes to selling to new markets

Alternative structures: Call for more staff-owned companies

An increasing number of UK businesses – large and small – are offering stakes to their employees

Corporate culture: Soft skills are needed to keep your imprint on a growing business

Bosses are using a variety of means to stay connected to their companies

Funding options: Alternative financials fill gap left by the banks

New channels are opening up as companies are deterred by high prices and onerous conditions

Family businesses: Use your loaf and bring in the experts

Outside hires can be the key to success for even the most traditional groups

Corporate responsibility: Taking the long view helps build a ‘better company’

Private owners are better able to resist short-term concerns

Awards: Forging the way towards a brighter future

The record number of nominations this year underscores how many UK private businesses are thriving

Tech City still waiting for its first IPO