MegaGrowth 50 2017: The full list of the fastest-growing private companies in Kent by turnover

The MegaGrowth 50 lists the fastest-growing private companies in Kent by turnover growth over the last three financial years, with revenues of at least £1 million.

1. 501.3%

PowaKaddy International, Sittingbourne

In 1983, Joe Catford invented the first commercially successful golf trolley and launched a venture in a small factory in Sittingbourne with an investment from local businessman John Martin.

Nearly 35 years later, after its ownership has passed through a variety of corporations and consortia, the company is back in its inventor’s family and is the fastest-growing privately owned firm in Kent.

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

David Catford, son of Joe, bought the company out of financial difficulties in 2012 with its chairman, John deGraft-Johnson.

It 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.

“There are many factors attributing to this success, but arguably the most important has been the product,” said Mr Catford, who first joined the company in the year his father launched it, before selling up in 1989 to the now-defunct Sunleigh Group.

“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.

PowaKaddy co-owner David Catford
PowaKaddy co-owner David Catford

“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.”

Today, the company employs about 50 people at its site in Sittingbourne, including experts in engineering, R&D, marketing, sales and customer service.

This year it was recognised in the London Stock Exchange’s 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain report, signalling how far it has come since it came back into family ownership.

Mr Catford’s business partner Mr deGraft-Johnson first became involved in the business as managing director of Sunleigh in 1991. He led a management buyout of the firm around 2000 when he also bought Hill Billy, a new trolley firm set up by PowaKaddy founder Joe with his sons David and Chris.

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
PowaKaddy's new Compact C2 trolley, which only requires two folding actions to assemble
PowaKaddy's new Compact C2 trolley, which only requires two folding actions to assemble

PowaKaddy continued to change hands many times after that until David Catford and Mr deGraft-Johnson were reunited in 2012 by an opportunity to buy the business together.
Mr Catford said it has been “a very successful move ever since”.

He said: “The strength of our brand name always helps too. We are the pioneers of the electric golf industry and have sold more trolleys than any other brand – over a million since our foundation in 1983.

“We’ve also been helped by a very healthy relationship with our retailers, who have benefited from not just leading products, but also greater margins and first-class customer service.

“Our retail partners have been a big factor in our success and we couldn’t have enjoyed such serious growth without their help.”

The PowaKaddy warehouse in Sittingbourne
The PowaKaddy warehouse in Sittingbourne

Mr Catford is coy about future expansion plans, except to say the firm will keep “leading the way in the electric trolley market”.

He said: “There are some really exciting times ahead for PowaKaddy – advances in technology will only serve to make the game even more enjoyable and stress-free.

“Like cars, engineers will continue to make golf trolleys look better and perform better year on year.”

2. 350.2%

Big Motoring World, West Malling

In the runner-up spot for the second straight year, the rise and rise of this used-car dealer is an old-fashioned rags to riches story.

Chief executive Peter Waddell started the firm trading from his driveway in 1986, quickly buying the Teynham Trade Centre where he stocked 20 cars.

Big Motoring World chief executive Peter Waddell
Big Motoring World chief executive Peter Waddell

Today, his company has more than 1,400 pre-owned BMW, Mercedes, Audi & Volkswagen cars on its forecourts across three sites and employs 300 people.

It’s not bad going for a man who describes himself as an “orphan boy who slept on the streets”, who will only say he was “beaten up” as a young child when asked about his background.

“One day I would like to be the biggest car dealer in the world,” said Mr Waddell.

He is certainly backing up his ambition. Big Motoring World has invested more than £60 million in building a 22-acre site at Blue Bell Hill, due to open in January.

Mr Waddell is keen to emphasise that the construction has been done by local builders.

Big Motoring World's base in Snodland
Big Motoring World's base in Snodland

Once open, it will create another 300 jobs. Total staff numbers will go beyond 700 once an expansion into a seven-acre plot next to its dealership in West Malling is complete. The company also has sites in Canterbury and Snodland.

Three years ago, the company was selling 350 to 400 cars a month. Today it sells more than 1,000, pricing 88% of its cars below market value, according to AutoTrader.

“A few years ago we changed the business model,” said Mr Waddell. “We looked at who we were selling cars to, where they were coming from and what they were looking for. “We realigned what we were buying to what customers wanted and sold more cars.”

The company’s success has not gone unnoticed, making it into the London Stock Exchange’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report this year.

Big Motoring World chief executive Peter Waddell
Big Motoring World chief executive Peter Waddell

Its growth has also allowed the firm to develop an apprenticeship programme.

Over the last three years it has trained 34 apprentices, and all but two have been given full-time roles in the company.

Mr Waddell said: “We have a saying: ‘together, everyone achieves more’. I’m the CEO but it’s the people that make the company. The receptionists, the cleaners, technicians and salespeople are the ones who grow the company. The CEO just looks at the numbers.”

3. 288.7%

M3 Solutions Folkestone

Today, Shaun Beattie knows huge growth has to be handled with care.

In 2015, M3 Solutions’ turnover reached nearly £17 million as it was spurred on by government subsidies in the renewable energy sector.

The company put in solar panels at 26 Roadchef sites across the country in a deal worth £1.5 million, the largest single contract its bosses had ever signed.

An 890-acre solar farm has been proposed near Graveney. Picture: Thinkstock
An 890-acre solar farm has been proposed near Graveney. Picture: Thinkstock

The firm also carried out the largest retrofitting of solar PV in London, installing 4,000 panels in Bow, and installed another 1,000 at Chester Zoo.

“We had our best ever year simply because we had a period of sustained support from the government in relation to the renewable energy industry and market,” said Mr Beattie, the firm’s sales director.

“We built up a significant reputation and the infrastructure to deliver significant projects.

“We also saw a sizeable shift towards the commercial sector where the size of the contracts were much bigger, rather than the agricultural sector where we had traditionally worked.”

A year later, the rug was pulled from under the firm’s feet.

Turnover has fallen away to about £4 million and the company has gone through a difficult period of redundancies, as the government has scrapped subsidies for the industry over the last few years.

"A lot of solar companies have gone bust but we diversified to offer LED and the interiors business has gone from strength to strength..." - Shaun Beattie, M3 Solutions

Today the firm employs eight people, down from a peak of 30 during the heightened solar installation contracts.

“2016 was a challenging year for us,” said Mr Beattie.

“We hoped the industry would bounce back but unfortunately that has not happened. We are no longer making a loss but we are nowhere near the dizzy heights of £17 million.”

However, there is sunlight on the horizon.

In September, Britain’s first solar power farm to operate without a government subsidy opened in eastern England, as a sharp fall in costs has made renewable energy much more economical.

Mr Beattie hopes to double the workforce by the end of next year.

The MegaGrowth 50 is in its 16th year
The MegaGrowth 50 is in its 16th year

He said: “The great thing is that solar is starting to make sense again without subsidies.

“The cost of components has fallen and the cost of electricity is increasing at a ridiculously high rate.

“We have some nice contracts in the offing which will see us return to more than £10 million turnover.”

M3 Solutions was founded in 2004 by managing director Adrian Williams as an office furniture supplier.

Fastest-growing companies in Kent honoured at MegaGrowth 50 presentation

It grew to become an office fit-out business and began installing LED lighting in 2011 around the time sales director Shaun Beattie joined. Its third partner is operations director Andy Panting.

The firm dipped its toe into the solar installation market when the company’s landlord asked if it could install the panels on his farmland. It “exploded” from there.

Mr Beattie said: “A lot of solar companies have gone bust but we diversified to offer LED and the interiors business has gone from strength to strength.

“A lot of businesses which go through what we went through don’t get a second chance.

“We learned a lot from what we went through after five years of continuous growth.

“We grew so quickly we weren’t able to put in place some of the basics which some companies take for granted.

“Now we are making our foundations much stronger.”

The service centre at Watchfinder
The service centre at Watchfinder

4. 276%, Maidstone

This firm, which sells pre-owned watches, has entered the MegaGrowth chart with force this year. The company, which was founded in 2002, puts its success down to the range
and variety of its stock which includes more than 50 brands. The second-hand luxury timepieces can be bought on the market for an average of more than £4,000 each. The business now has seven shops across the country, including Bluewater, Canary Wharf
and Leeds.

The Specialist Works has expanded its offices at Kings Hill
The Specialist Works has expanded its offices at Kings Hill

5. 187.2%

The Specialist Works, West Malling

This media agency has managed to boost profits by “rewriting the rules” of advertising. The award-winning company is known for looking after its clients’ social networks, app marketing and advertising campaigns. With bases across Britain, Europe and the US, this firm has some big name clients on its books such as travel website Voyage Prive and bird charity RSPB. In 2015 the company’s profits just tipped over the £1 million mark.

6. 174.4%

Priority Freight, Dover

This company makes sure that “time-critical freight transport and logistics” gets to where
it needs to be on time and in good condition. This means its clients are able “to meet
complex and urgent international” challenges. The firm aims to speed up the supply chain
and minimise waiting. Profits jumped by more than £650,000 in 2015 to £2.1 million.

A Chartway Group development at Millside in East Malling
A Chartway Group development at Millside in East Malling

7. 172.1%

Chartway Group, Maidstone

This company holds its place in the MegaGrowth 50 list in the same position as last year. The developer’s work can be seen across the South East and turnover now stands at £70 million. The group works with housing associations, local authorities and private developers. Its team has also worked on projects across commercial, healthcare and educational sectors.

Swanstaff Recruitment managing director Stephen Rogers in the Dartford head office
Swanstaff Recruitment managing director Stephen Rogers in the Dartford head office

8. 161.4 %

Swanstaff Recruitment, Dartford

Established almost 20 years ago, this recruitment agency sources temporary or permanent staff for small to medium-sized companies. Working from a range of branches across the country, it services a range of sectors including healthcare, pharmaceutical, financial, office and commercial. The business has 30,000 candidates on its database with another 500,000 candidates from agencies. The firm launched its own app for candidates in August and was named one of the London Stock Exchange’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain for the second year running in May.

Moss Electrical is based in Dartford
Moss Electrical is based in Dartford

9. 151.4%

Moss Electrical Co, Dartford

This electrical wholesaler has managed to neatly slot itself back into the top 10 of this year’s MegaGrowth 50 list. The firm launched in 1962 when it began trading from a shop in east London’s Plaistow. It became Moss Electrical Co in 1992 and moved to a 150,000 sq ft facility in Dartford in 2008. The business aims to be a “UK leader” in distribution of electrical supplies. Previous projects include the Olympic Park. Profits went up by £614,00 to £2.4 million in 2016.

10. 124.2%

Netbox Digital, Rochester

This company has hit a higher position in our MegaGrowth 50 rundown for the third year in a row. Last year it was in at No.17 and the year before the firm came in at 26th place. The business offers “extensive experience in office copy, print and scan solutions”. The team also has a range of stationery supplies “to cater for any business need”. It is a partner of manufacturers like Develop, Sharp, Lexmark and Ricoh. Clients can purchase or lease its products.

Drink Warehouse UK was the top company in MegaGrowth 50 in 2016
Drink Warehouse UK was the top company in MegaGrowth 50 in 2016

11. 122.5%

Drink Warehouse UK, Ramsgate

The winner of last year’s MegaGrowth 50 turnover list is an independent wholesaler operating throughout Kent. The business supplies numerous bars and restaurants in the county with beer, wine, spirits and soft drinks. It aims to be a one-stop shop for all its customers’ needs. While renovating its offices last year, the firm invested in new office space complete with a boardroom and tasting room so clients can try new products.

12. 121.5%

Willerby Landscapes, Edenbridge

This commercial contractor is a six-time BALI National Landscape Awards winner. Founded in 1983, its staff provide tree installation, grounds maintenance and water feature design and installation. Its recent projects include refurbishing Dreamland and the Kings Cross development. It is also working on the Finbury housing development near Ashford. Bosses say the company can “work to tight budgets and a challenging programme”. Pre-tax profits more than doubled to nearly £860,000 last year.

13. 121.2%

Ferns Surfacing, Aylesford

This road surfacing company mainly works in the gas, water and power utility sectors. The firm puts its growth down to its “reputation for reliable operational performance, safety, customer service and technological innovation”. Alongside its contracting operations, it has its own quarry in Wrotham where it produces traditional sand based materials. It also manufactures specialist recycled aggregates for the construction sector from its recycling centre in Brentwood, Essex. Profits jumped from more than £500,000 in 2015 to nearly £1.8 million in 2016.

Global Associates installs and maintains building management systems
Global Associates installs and maintains building management systems

14. 118.8%

Global Associates, Sittingbourne

Based at Kent Science Park, this business reduces the amount of energy companies use. It installs, services and maintains building management and energy systems – or BEMS as it is known in the industry – which has been adopted by clients such as Pfizer, Bluewater and GlaxoSmithKline. Founded in 1993, it prides itself on “being able to deliver projects on time and on budget”. It works on new buildings and existing sites and has developed complex “IT integration systems”. The firm has an apprenticeship programme, many of whom go on to be engineers in the business.

15. 117.4%

Highway Care Group, Detling

This MegaGrowth 50 regular is back for another year. Highway Care manufactures crash
barriers and became even more of a success story when they created the BarrierGuard 800. It is widely regarded as the best portable steel barrier in the industry. The company was founded in 1976 by chairman John Talbot and sells road safety products and services on high speed trunk roads and lower speed roads. The business prides itself in “offering high quality products and professional service to its customers”.

Tribeca Technology provides IT support
Tribeca Technology provides IT support

16. 113.9%

Tribeca Technology, Sittingbourne

This IT support provider was founded in Rochester in 2006 by Mark Instance and today services 50 businesses across 15 countries. It primarily serves the hedge fund market and has managed a “steady growth in the region of 30% year on year”. Its services include disaster recovery, cyber security, telecoms, office moves, website design and software development. The firm, which employs 43 people, has run an apprenticeship scheme for six years.

McDonald's franchisee Paul Crocker
McDonald's franchisee Paul Crocker

17. 112.3%

PA Crocker, Margate

Paul Crocker had run a number of successful petrol station businesses before taking on a McDonald’s franchise in 1995. He now operates 17 restaurants in Kent with the help of his wife. Profits increased 33% to £1.7 million in 2015. He is due to close his franchise at Ashford Designer Outlet temporarily before opening a 40% larger restaurant as part of the centre’s expansion. He also plans to open another drive-thru in the town within two years.

18. 111.8%

Simms International, Lenham

This distributor has been sending its clients electronic storage devices since it launched in 1990. The firm works with a range of small businesses as well as some blue chip clients including BAE Systems. Simms International is the trading name of Rorke Holdings and stocks a range of USB sticks, memory cards, industrial flash drives and encrypted devices. Accounts filed with Companies House show profits reached £648,000 last year. The firm also offers a servicing option for its clients so their technology can be kept in the best possible condition.

19. 110.4%

GForces, Maidstone

The first firm in this year’s MegaGrowth which appears in both the turnover and export tables. It works with some of the biggest names in the British automotive industry, such as the AA and AutoTrader but also sells its business intelligence services to independent car dealers and franchisees of major manufacturers. Its award-winning software helps clients collect, use and manage data either on their products or customers. It sells showroom solutions, vehicle locators and digital stock monitoring tools.

20. 109.2%

Ovendens Earthmoving Company, Canterbury

This digger business claims to be the “leading earthmoving contractor in the South East”. Past projects at the company, founded in 1973, have included works on constructing the Channel Tunnel. It has invested in machinery designed for preparing coastal defences, including bulldozers, dumptrucks, excavators and grapples. The company has its own landfill sites where it crushes waste and recycling centres process demolition materials and soils into recycled aggregates. Documents filed at Companies House show a jump in pre-tax profits by more than £1 million in 2016 to £2.5 million.

Motorline enjoyed a strong year
Motorline enjoyed a strong year

21. 105.6%

Motorline, Canterbury

With a range of vehicles from brands like Toyota, Nissan, Renault and Peugeot to name a few, this car retail group has been going since 1972. There are 43 dealerships in locations across Kent, West Sussex, Surrey and elsewhere around the country. The firm’s first dealership was opened in Canterbury. Now there are 1,250 employees across the company. Recent investments include expanding its premises in Dartford. It owns the only Maserati dealership in Kent.

22. 104.5%

Elm Surfacing, Sittingbourne

This roadworks contractor lays asphalt and macadam on highways. It also rents out equipment to the civil engineering, building and communications sectors and carries out a lot of work in London. The sort of work undertaken by the team includes surfacing, road marking and installing and maintaining traffic systems. Documents filed at Companies House show the firm’s pre-tax profits went from £260,000 in 2015 to almost £368,000 the following year.

23. 92.6%

Bates Office, Rochester

This next entry to the MegaGrowth 50 list is returning after appearing in last year’s rundown. The online retailer sells office supplies. Through its website it sells stationery, computer accessories, cleaning equipment and furniture. Then, once you have done all of that work you are probably ready for a tea or coffee. It sells that too. The company made profits of more than £900,000 in 2016 which is up from £835,000 the year before.

24. 90.7%

Take 1 Script Services, Cranbrook

In the same place in the MegaGrowth 50 chart as last year is this digital transcription service. The firm translates and submits copy to different clients. It is “the trusted provider of transcription, captioning and translation services to all the major production companies, subtitling, studios and networks” within the UK and USA. The team can handle projects and “always delivers on time”. The firm processes more than 20,000 hours of content each year for its clients.

Otford Builders Merchants supported Breast Cancer Awareness with pink bags
Otford Builders Merchants supported Breast Cancer Awareness with pink bags

25. 90.6%

Otford Builders Merchants, Sevenoaks

This family-run independent builders merchant is based in Sevenoaks and Ashford. The business supplies a range of building products including bricks and blocks, landscaping, timber, plumbing, hardware and decorating. The firm also sells equipment to private developers. A recent rebranding and significant investment in logistics and systems is preparing the company for its next period of growth. The direct sales department is considered to be “one of the major suppliers of bricks and blocks within the South East”. It says its unique selling point is its free brick-matching service.

26. 87.4%

G K R Scaffolding, Rochester

The next entry into the MegaGrowth 50 chart has worked on some of the most iconic construction projects in London and the South East including The Shard and the Mary Rose. It is the scaffolding supplier for Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium. The vision for the business is “to be the leading scaffolding company in the UK”. Pre-tax profits grew 54% to £6.8 million in 2016. A new integrated management system means it monitors fuel usage and CO2 emissions to reduce its carbon footprint.

27. 82.8%

JCB Group, Gillingham

This car dealer has more than a dozen showrooms across Kent and Sussex. As well as Volkswagen, the company also sells Honda, Skoda and Seat. Stocking new and used cars and vans, all branches have a customer lounge with free Wi-fi and staff help people “find the right vehicle for your needs, not our pockets”. The company also carries out MOT and servicing and sells parts. It has a fleet of more than 50 cars.

Sahara Presentation Systems distribute and manufacture audio visual equipment used in schools and boardrooms
Sahara Presentation Systems distribute and manufacture audio visual equipment used in schools and boardrooms

27. 82.8%

Sahara Presentations Group, Dartford

This touchscreen designer and manufacturer has operated near Dartford for decades. It moved to a new 290,047 sq ft site with its logistic partner Europa Worldwide Group in 2015. The firm has installed interactive touchscreens in classrooms across Britain. It has appointed a number of distributors overseas to promote its tablets and electronic boards in countries investing in interactive technologies. Pre-tax profits jumped by 24% to £5.7 million last year. It began life as a typewriter company in 1924.

Rift advises a construction workers on tax refunds
Rift advises a construction workers on tax refunds

29. 82.1%

Rift Group, Ashford

This MegaGrowth 50 regular offers a “sharp pair of eyes” and a “safe pair of hands” to help people claim the tax refunds they’re owed by HMRC and submit their tax returns. Founded in 1999, it maximises tax refunds and offers clients advice on how to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pocket. The team also offers an accountancy service, has a research and development tax credits division and is a consultancy on employee-status legislation.

30. 78.7%

TCS Group, Hextable

Bosses at this screeding contractor say its growth is down to its team of hard working people. The business, which levels floors with concrete, has worked on more than 4,000 projects, including Bond Street station and the Elizabeth Line for the new Crossrail project, as well as developing Canary Wharf station and The Strand. Founded in 2004, it also installs underfloor heating and can finish floors with resin, carpet, wood, laminate and ceramic or porcelain tiles.

Astro Communications managing director Steve Hodges
Astro Communications managing director Steve Hodges

31. 78.6%

Astro Communications, Dartford

This telecommunications provider was founded by two former employees of BT and Cable and Wireless in 1984. Since then it has built up a client base that includes Butlin’s, Grundon Waste Management, Motorpoint Arena, TGI Friday’s and BBC Wales. It installs
and maintains physical cabling and wireless LAN’s through to cloud-based video conferencing and SIP services. Bosses describe the company as an “expert in solving business challenges through the design, deployment and management of communications”.

32. 78.4%, Maidstone

This independent price comparison service offers free advice on the best gas and electricity deals. Since it was launched in 2002, it has benefited from political efforts to make it easier for customers of energy firms to be able to switch to the cheapest possible tariffs. The site compares all major UK suppliers for homeowners and businesses. It has been investing in new technology and communication equipment. It was a founding member of Ofgem’s Confidence Code, a voluntary code of conduct for energy price comparison websites.

33. 77.6%

Clock House Farm, Maidstone

This family-run agriculture business was founded in 1903 by the grandfather of director Camilla Pascall. She runs the firm with husband and managing director Robert. It looks after about 330 hectares to the south of Coxheath. It also has 30 hectares at a satellite site near Tonbridge, run by Camilla’s son Oliver, and extends its blackberry growing season
at the Kenardington glasshouse site near Ashford. The business grows “top quality” strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, apples, pears and plumbs, which it sells to major supermarkets.

Lucas chairman and managing director Danny Lucas
Lucas chairman and managing director Danny Lucas

34. 74.7%

Lucas, Wrotham

This decorating contractor’s previous projects include The Shard, the Olympic Stadium, Tate Modern, One Angel Court, McLaren’s production centre and buildings for BSkyB. It is run by chairman and managing director Danny Lucas, who took over the business from his father Sam. Alongside its fitting-out work, it has a research arm which has developed products like Lucas Breathe, a coating for buildings which soaks up harmful nitrogen oxide gases in the air.

35. 73.1%

Edward Vinson, Faversham

For the last 150 years this family-run farming business has been growing fruit in the South East. The company focuses on “premium varieties” of plants and berries, which it ships to supermarkets including Marks & Spencer and Tesco. It has also run a breeding programme over the last 25 years with selected varieties of fruit. It has three farms and a packhouse where it chills, assesses quality and packs fruit. It has 24 hectares of glass houses containing mostly strawberry plants, which produce more than 18 million plants a year.

Reliable Contractors boss Brian Greene
Reliable Contractors boss Brian Greene

35. 73.1%

Reliable Contractors, Margate

A former MegaGrowth winner, this family-run recruitment business supplies skilled labour to the construction, rail and engineering sectors. Launched more than 40 years ago, it has supported major projects like Crossrail, the Olympic Park and upgrades to Victoria and Tottenham Court Road stations. The firm has established regional offices in London, Bristol and Manchester. It works with major contractors like BAM, Carillion, Kier and Laing O’Rourke. Pre-tax profits were £846,000 last year.

37. 70.9%

FM Conway, Sevenoaks

This infrastructure services company has been expanding its road surfacing operations in recent times with a string of acquisitions. Founded in 1961, the firm lays more than four million metres of lining annually and laid 51,000 linear metres of granite kerb last year. The company has recycled 500,000 tonnes of aggregates for the building industry and cleans more than a million road gullies annually. It has 12 corporate offices and depots across the country. Pre-tax profits increased 28% to £17.4 million last year.

38. 69.1%

Cooper Estates, Longfield

This property investment and development company was founded in 1933. It has a portfolio of real estate suitable for residential and commercial property across the UK. Pre-tax profits trebled to nearly £1.6 million in 2016. It has recently been involved in a project which could see land being turned into homes, a medical centre and dentist surgery in Edenbridge. It takes “a long-term approach to real estate” and is interested in “forward funding, joint ventures, and long-term promotion or development projects”.

Recruitment firm MC Personnel serves the engineering, catering, office and driving sectors
Recruitment firm MC Personnel serves the engineering, catering, office and driving sectors

39. 66.6%

MC Personnel, Gillingham

This recruitment firm, which was founded in 1998, aims to fill vacancies for industrial, engineering, catering, office and driving sectors in Kent, south east London and Essex. The business, which also has offices in Gravesend and Ashford, was formed to provide a “bespoke solutions” for clients looking for staff and “building long term business relationships”. Formed by directors Melanie Maynard and Claire Robson, it has grown through what they described as “a professional personal service”.

Elsatex supplies and manufactures textiles
Elsatex supplies and manufactures textiles

40. 66.1%

Elsatex, Rochester

Featuring in MegaGrowth once again, this textiles supplier and manufacturer began life supplying towels and cloths to sectors including healthcare, health clubs, commercial laundries, hotels and restaurants. Today it also makes luxury products for retailers under its Victoria London brand and caters for the more affordable end of the market with its Clearance Textiles. Often on the order list are tea towels, bed linen and other fabric products which are made at its factories in Bangladesh. Its clients include TK Maxx, Kleeneeze and Betterware.

41. 63.5%

Level Best Solutions, Edenbridge

This high-end interiors business was formed in 2000. It specialises in suspended ceilings, doors, partitions and glazing. It carries out most of its decorating and fit-out projects in offices in London. The team’s aim is to create the ideal working environment on time and within budget. Bosses pride themselves on offering clients a professional service and being able to exceed expectations. Pre-tax profits increased 20% to £114,000 in the year to the end of August 2016.

42. 58.8%

Abacus Playgrounds, Northfleet

Dubbed the UK’s “leading installer of safety surfacing”, it lays wet-pour rubber flooring which absorbs impact when children fall. Its base surfaces are made from recycled rubber from worn tyres. It also installs artificial grass and 3G pitches. It works with local authorities, play equipment manufacturers, schools, nurseries and building contractors across the country. Bosses say they have developed a service which “is second to none”. Pre-tax profits increased by 8% to £321,000 in 2015.

43. 58.5%

Broadland Construction, Chatham

This firm carries out high-quality residential refurbishments and commercial fit-outs which includes new design and conservation work. The firm operates throughout London and the South East. Revenues were boosted by a large commercial contract in Camden and pre-tax-profits in the year to the end of March 2016, which jumped 26% to £616,000. It works on exclusive residential properties in London’s Knightsbridge, Holland Park and Eaton Square. Its present work also includes Kensington Gardens and a residential refurb in Benenden.

FGS Agri does contract farming
FGS Agri does contract farming

44. 57.5%

FGS Agri, Ashford

This contract farming business calls itself a “one stop shop” for all outsourced agricultural services. Farmers benefit from reduced overheads, flexibility through a choice of equipment, and a wealth of knowledge from trained and experienced staff. The company also offers a range of civil and utility contracting services. Pre-tax profits were £1.5 million in the year to the end of April 2016, up 1%. Founded more than three decades ago as a small family-run farm, today its farming division covers some 2,000 hectares and employs 73 people.

Red Eagle boss Wayne Hodgson
Red Eagle boss Wayne Hodgson

45. 57.4%

The Red Eagle Group, Folkestone

This recruitment firm was founded in 2004 by Wayne and Jo-Anna Hodgson, who were joined by Will Cotter a year later. The trio have built up a team of staff who are able to offer “a fresh approach to the recruitment market”. The business supplies labour in food processing, waste and recycling, manufacturing, industrial and warehousing, office staff and drivers. Its staff are on hand 24-hours-a-day to offer emergency solutions. Pre-tax profits were steady at £347,000 in 2016.

46. 57.3%

Lind – The Automotive Family, Tonbridge

This car retailer was founded in 1992 and bought by motor retail giant Inchcape in 2006, with the exception of its Porsche Centre in Tonbridge. Russ Dacre, son of founder Graham, took the reins of the business a year later and added its first motorcycle dealership in 2008. The company has a strong focus on the customer experience in all of the brands it represents, including Porsche, BMW Motorrad, Harley-Davidson and Triumph. Pre-tax profits increased 72% to £774,000 in 2015.

47. 56.5%

Incentive FM Group, Tunbridge Wells

This facilities management firm was founded in 2001 and aims to “bring a fresh, dynamic approach” to the sector. Its “flexible, highly-motivated team” aims to reduce a company’s spending on building maintenance by 20%. Its clients are in retail, finance and the manufacturing sectors. It also maintains a number of “prestige” head offices. According to documents filed at Companies House, profits before tax increased by more than £100,000 to £272,000 in 2016.

48. 54.3%

Castacrete, Strood

This firm uses its 50 years of “expert” experience to design, manufacture and import landscaping products. It has three manufacturing sites across the UK producing paving slabs, paving blocks and sundry items, as well as nine Stonecraft paving centres. It employs more than 100 people. This company was established in the 1960s. In 2014 the firm ventured into the international importing business. It continues to grow and is expanding all the time to accommodate changes in the market.

48. 54.3%

Stewart Fraser, Ashford

Founded in 1945, this firm designs, manufactures and installs a range of doors, entrances, aluminium shop fronts, curtain walls and specialist trade products. It combines traditional handcrafting skills with advanced machining technology. The firm works closely with its clients to “develop new solutions” and adapt existing products. Past projects include the Olympic Stadium, Imperial College London and shop fronts on Tottenham Court Road. Pre-tax profits increased 13% to £213,000 in the year to the end of March 2016.

48. 54.3%

MDSL, Tunbridge Wells

Set up in 1995, this business has developed award-winning software which creates efficiencies and helps bosses control their entire technology estate from a single platform. It allows enterprises to manage their market data and communications costs more tightly. It can also help to develop and streamline business processes and achieve significant savings on a world-wide scale. The business has more than 150 customers in some 34 countries. Last year, pre-tax profits exploded to £2.3 million, up from £160,000 in 2015.

Click here for the full-list of the fastest-growing exporters in Kent in 2017.

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