Who are the UK’s most inspirational and innovative businesses of 2017?
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Who are the UK’s most inspirational and innovative businesses of 2017?

Every year, the London Stock Exchange produces the 1000 Companies To Inspire report. This year’s showed that every region of the UK showed a growth in revenue produced by thriving SMEs.

Predictably, Greater London led the charge with a 285% average annual growth over 4 years, but the picture still looks impressive throughout the UK. The north west saw an annual revenue growth of 97%, the West Midlands by 80%, and the east of England by 100%.

As positive as they are, when you put the stats and reports to one side, there are some very individual and inspiring stories of business growth across the UK, and every small business could learn from them.

Buy Me Once – the website helping us throw less away

Founded just last year by Londoner Tara Button, Buy Me Once is a curated aggregator site for goods with lifetime warranties. With all products chosen for durability and quality, shoppers can browse anything from handbags to cookware, and know they’ll never have to replace it.

Button founded the company when she “discovered that 1.5 million tonnes of clothes get thrown away every year in the UK”.

RDM – driverless technology in the Midlands

We generally associate driverless cars with Silicon Valley, but RDM are Coventry-based and creating autonomous vehicles designed for pedestrianised areas, such as airports and shopping centres.

According to the boss David Keene, they’re “the only company with vehicles in large-scale trial…and receiving enquiries from all over the world.”

ID Co. – creating trust online

With data hacks becoming painfully common, Edinburgh-based ID Co. have created two digital products designed to make online data and transactions safer, one for consumers and one for businesses.

The ID Co. digital passport proves ‘we really are who we say we are’ and uses 4-factor authentication to prevent fraud.

Reason Digital – the startup that drives social change

Based in Salford, Reason is a team of 40 who have “been using…digital expertise to tackle big social issues since 2008”.

In 9 years, they’ve built a responsive site to increase fundraising for an Alzheimer’s cure, built an app to protect sex workers, and fought food poverty with The Trussell Trust.

Kafoodle – the catering tool inspired by a near-death experience

On a trip to Mykonos in 2014, Kafoodle co-founder Kim Antoniou saw her husband go into severe anaphylactic shock because of a miscommunication with a restaurant kitchen.

In response, she created Kafoodle with an old friend, an end-to-end kitchen management software that includes “a live feed for allergy-friendly food”. Diners can search for dairy, gluten and allergen free meals without sending the kitchen into disarray.

Litmos Heroes – learning for the ‘YouTube generation’

Ideal for those who find printed text difficult to take in (but still want to learn), Warrington-based Litmos Heroes gives users a video library of learning and training courses, full of different formats to keep it interesting.

Companies like Santander, Royal Mail, the NHS and Mercedes have given their staff valuable training through the platform. Courses include health and safety, leadership, and FCA compliance, all delivered through engaging content.

Mission Tie the Knot – taking the effort out of wedding-planning

Wedding marketplace Mission Tie the Knot was founded by two friends who wished there was just one place where they could buy everything wedding-related. One was so wedding obsessed she’d produced a 22-page itinerary for her own…

Taking the crowds out of wedding fairs and putting it all online, Mission Tie the Knot is a one-stop shop for stationery, gifts, dresses, and table decorations.

Koh Thai restaurant – from 1 to 13 locations in 4 years

Tapas isn’t just a Mediterranean phenomenon anymore, Koh Thai co-founder Jay Hampton brought Thai food served in small sharing plates to Bournemouth and soon found he was selling hundreds of tables every week.

With expansion in mind, Jay was knocked back by banks for a loan like many restaurants are. Raising funds with the Merchant Cash Advance from Capify has helped Koh Thai grow to 13 locations across the South West.

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