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MegaGrowth 50 2017: PowaKaddy in Sittingbourne named fastest-growing private company in Kent

By Chris Price

A golf-trolley manufacturer has been named the fastest-growing private company in Kent in the annual list published by Kent Business.

The MegaGrowth 50 reveals the businesses across the county with the largest growth in turnover over the last three financial years.

It also highlights the 10 fastest-growing exporters, using data compiled from Companies House and from accounts submitted to the KM Group.

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PowaKaddy, which invented the first commercially-successful golf trolley in 1983, surged into this year’s top spot, with sales growth of 501.3%.

Its bosses picked up the winner's certificate at a ceremony held at Turkey Mill in Maidstone, in front of more than 100 people.

The family-owned manufacturer has its warehouse and headquarters in Sittingbourne, and employs about 50 people.

The firm has enjoyed four years of double-digit growth since, driven by new product launches, including the first electric trolley in the world to have built-in GPS technology.

The MegaGrowth 50 companies of 2017

The MegaGrowth 50 companies of 2017

PowaKaddy boss David Catford, second left, picks up the MegaGrowth 2017 winner's certificate with, from left, Andrew Griggs of Kreston Reeves, wife Adele, Shaun Kelly of asb law, Gavin Potter of Lloyds Bank and Neil Webster of KM Group

PowaKaddy boss David Catford, second left, picks up the MegaGrowth 2017 winner's certificate with, from left, Andrew Griggs of Kreston Reeves, wife Adele, Shaun Kelly of asb law, Gavin Potter of Lloyds Bank and Neil Webster of KM Group

The MegaGrowth 50 is in its 16th year

The MegaGrowth 50 is in its 16th year

“There are many factors attributing to this success, but arguably the most important has been the product,” said David Catford, the co-owner of the business and son of its founder Joe, who launched the company in 1983.

“We’ve seen more golfers buy a trolley for the first time, but we’ve also seen an increase in golfers upgrading their PowaKaddy to a more premium model.

“The design and functionality of our whole range – including trolleys and bags – has been praised by experts within the industry, and we continue to lead the way in these areas, largely thanks to the unparalleled engineering that goes into every product.”

David Catford, right, leads a tour of the PowaKaddy warehouse in Sittingbourne

David Catford, right, leads a tour of the PowaKaddy warehouse in Sittingbourne

PowaKaddy co-owner David Catford

PowaKaddy co-owner David Catford

PowaKaddy's new FW7s GPS, which is the first electric trolley in the world to have built-in GPS technology

PowaKaddy's new FW7s GPS, which is the first electric trolley in the world to have built-in GPS technology

For the second-straight year, the runner-up spot was taken by West Malling-based car retailer Big Motoring World, which is building a £60 million showroom in Blue Bell Hill.

It achieved sales growth of 350.2%.

Kent’s fastest-growing exporter was GForces in Maidstone, a web development business for car manufacturers and dealerships.

Its overseas revenues surged by 1,729.9% over the last three financial years.

A little over a decade ago, the firm employed 14 people and had just begun exploring the potential of developing websites specifically for the motor trade.

Today, it has more than 240 staff, a web development team of 30 in Poland, and clients like Land Rover, Jaguar, Mazda and Vauxhall.

GForces directors, from left, Kevin Robins, Giles Smith, Tim Smith, Neil Smith, Simon Upton

GForces directors, from left, Kevin Robins, Giles Smith, Tim Smith, Neil Smith, Simon Upton

“It’s been a long-term strategy but it’s worked,” said Tim Smith, one of a trio of brothers on the board of the business.

“It is still organic growth. We have never had any funding and we don’t have any debt. That’s a rare state of affairs.”

Click here for the full list of Kent's fastest-growing companies by turnover.

Pick up a 12-page pullout on the MegaGrowth 50 free inside the Kent Business supplement in the Kent Messenger and Medway Messenger this week.

Click here for the full list of the fastest-growing exporters in Kent.

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