From Gazelles to Gorillas

The answers to economic recovery over the past three years has centred significantly on the importance of gazelles – those high growth businesses that deliver sustained 20% growth over a three-year period. These are innovative firms with differentiated products and services that stand out from the crowd, they have strong leadership and clarity in relation to where they want to get to. They are entrepreneurial as well as disciplined in their approach to business.

My thinking has now moved on a little and I have started to create thinking time for another category of important economic contributors – Gorillas. These are very rare beasts defined as “high growth businesses less than 10 years old with a physical presence in at least 3 countries and employing over 500 people”. I think we can get too bogged down in definitions but companies such as JD Sports, Carphone Warehouse, Vodafone, Intel, Skype, Innocent Drinks, Daisy Communications, The Hut Group, Google and Amazon are all good examples of companies that have pursed strategies to achieve global scale – or put another way gorilla style growth.

The rapid evolution of ever improving technology combined with globalisation opens the doors for gazelles to explore the next level of growth. International opportunities such as those of the BRIC economies will see the rise in the number of UK businesses embracing gorilla strategies. With this mind we need to be ready to support these entrepreneurs with the management, legal, international, finance and operational expertise vital to make this happen. This is where the Business Growth Fund launched a couple of months ago has a serious role to play.

The High Growth Foundation is now planning its Companies of Scale Initiative to get this mindset in place. A series of practical measures will be rolled out to set the scene.














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