LDC Top 50 2019
Enthuse Group Co-Founder Owen Davies specialises in turning heritage titles into multimedia brands, and has created an innovative business model. If you’re an avid woodworker, have a passion for quilting, or collect stamps, you may have heard of the business.
Since its inception in 2006, it has acquired 40 different specialist titles dedicated to hobbies and niche communities. Its latest coup – the AA’s inspection and accreditation business – will help take the company to a turnover of £25m this year. Owen said: “I enjoy building businesses, especially taking unloved assets and breathing new life into them. I also feel that it is important to keep some of these brands alive.”
What’s your own personal ambition?
I enjoy building businesses, especially taking unloved assets and breathing new life into them. I also feel that it is important to keep some of these brands alive. Take Model Engineer, a magazine which was founded in 1898, and which is still published every two weeks and available at WH Smiths. I care about preserving its heritage. It would be such a shame if these communities couldn’t thrive. They are keeping certain skills alive today that are being lost elsewhere.
What inspired your global vision?
Traditional UK media is finding the current environment challenging. The US media is equally challenged, if not more so. We made our first acquisition over there last year, and a second in June 2019. Around 25pc of our turnover now comes from overseas, and there is great potential for further growth.
What is the main challenge facing mid-market businesses?
Enthuse is built around a decentralised management structure. Brand leaders have the freedom to make the right decisions for their communities, and to be entrepreneurial. As we grow into a mid-sized firm, there is a tension there. It will be a challenge to maintain that decentralised model, and we will have to bring in certain skills, which will mean overheads aren’t quite so lean. But I won’t change the model, which is the basis of our innovative culture. They know better – even, than me.
Media companies can take decades to grow but when they do, they can become very large. We are seeing more and more opportunities, and are expecting to double in size in the near term. Longer term? We could be a very large business.”Owen Davies, Co-Founder