The UK’s entrepreneurial spirit is “alive and well”, with “towns and cities across the UK bursting with talent” – that was the message from Paul Drechsler CBE, speaking at a celebration event held for The LDC Top 50 Most Ambitious Business Leaders at The Telegraph’s London headquarters yesterday.
Honouring the Top 50 and the Ones to Watch, Mr Drechsler – Vice Chairman of the CBI, Chairman of Bibby Line Group and Chairman of the initiative’s judging panel – commended their positive attitude, employment creation and exporting activity, saying “in times like these, the UK needs business leaders just like you to inspire the nation.”
Andy Grove, LDC’s Head of New Business and fellow judge, thanked the Top 50 for “sharing their stories of courage, drive and determination” and described the initiative as “something special for LDC in celebrating the character of those individuals running some of the UK’s most impressive companies.”
At the event, Julian Hearn, founder of powdered food brand Huel, was named the UK’s most ambitious business leader, following a judging session earlier that day. In just three years, serial entrepreneur Mr Hearn has grown his product into a global sensation, selling 22m meals in 80 countries and with a turnover set to reach £45m this year.
Judges praised the scale of is ambition, his track record and obvious passion for the brand and his customers.
Accepting the award, he said “the best motivation is the incredible feedback we get from our customers every single day, that’s what drives you on.”
Over 400 nominations were made to the LDC Top 50 Most Ambitious Business Leaders initiative which was serialised in The Telegraph over a five-week period and published online.
Mr Drechsler also praised the role and contribution of small and mid-sized companies to the prosperity of the UK economy, quoting the CBI’s latest SME Trends Survey, which showed output and order growth had increased at their fastest pace since 1995.
He also called for government to listen fully to the needs of business as it enters the final phase of negotiations with the EU over Brexit, highlighting frictionless trade and regulatory certainty as paramount.