Lead Forensics


Ambitious leaders triumph against adversity

7 Oct 2020

The world has changed a lot since private equity specialist LDC launched the Top 50 Most Ambitious Leaders programme in 2018.

However, brilliant leaders and talented entrepreneurs continue to overcome the challenges thrown at them. They are still creating jobs, driving innovation and generating economic benefit for the nation.

We caught up with some of our illustrious alumni from the past two years to find out how they have weathered the recent crisis, and discovered that neither COVID-19 nor an economic downturn can dent their ambition.

Employee wellness provider Medigold Health has grown more than 25pc since its chief executive Alex Goldsmith was featured in the Top 50 back in 2018. COVID-19 and the resultant lockdown had a massive impact on his business, but it survived because of the strength of his team. “Despite losing 60pc of our normal business activity in the space of two weeks in the spring, the team have all – without exception – performed above and beyond,” says Alex. “It has meant that we have thrived in adversity and created opportunity from the depths of crisis.” Medigold Health was able to pivot swiftly to offer COVID-19 testing, risk planning and wellness-related assistance for affected people and businesses. It also began sourcing PPE for customers, creating a new revenue stream. “The crisis has brought us together like never before,” adds Alex. “I couldn’t be prouder.”

Twinkl helps teachers all over the world access high-quality materials and teaching aids. In the two years since founder Jonathan Seaton was recognised in the Top 50, he has translated Twinkl’s digital content into 15 languages. When schools were closed earlier this year, the business stepped up to the plate, offering teachers, parents and carers free access to over 655,000 resources.

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Recognising we could help on a global scale, the team created codes for different countries and areas to ensure that everyone, everywhere had access to high-quality educational materials.”
Jonathan Seaton
Founder and CEO, Twinkl

Organic soap-maker Emma Heathcote-James appeared in the Top 50 in 2019. In just under a year, the size of her team at The Little Soap Company has doubled to 30, and sales are up 110pc. Emma says that the business benefited from people’s shift to be more hygienic to help prevent the spread of the virus. “We only manufacture in the UK so we were able to be responsive and had full control to meet the increased demand – which was huge. We’ve never experienced anything like it. We were fortunate to be able to help many retailers to fill gaps on shelves.” Emma had several new product launches planned for earlier this year, and they went ahead – with a few small tweaks. “Our eco non-plastic Travel Soap Box for holidays and the gym was also quickly reworded to become a “soap on the go box”, she says. “The effect? We have sold almost double of what we had forecast.”


Next Thursday meet our next 10 most ambitious business leaders and hear how other Top 50 alumni have realised their ambitions since being in the Top 50.