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Ones to Watch: The growing East Midlands Businesses to look out for in 2022

Ones to Watch: The growing East Midlands Businesses to look out for in 2022
Written by publishing team

Today we are publishing a list of East Midlands businesses and business leaders to watch in 2022 – companies we believe will make new headlines in the coming months and do their part to help Britain thrive.

digital soul

Luke Tobin, CEO of Leicester-based marketing company Digital Ethos, was recently named one of the Top 50 Aspiring Business Leaders for 2021 in a list backed by The Times.

Born and raised in Leicestershire, Lock has emerged as one to watch for his forward-looking expansion strategy.

Last summer, it acquired Boxed Red, an agency based in Knutsford, Cheshire. This is the second transaction for the company, which is headquartered in Oadby on the outskirts of Leicester and operates in London, Bristol, Birmingham, York and Edinburgh.

Management said it will pave the way for growth in both brands.

Digital Ethos works with clients such as Acclaim Driving, Accurist Hours, Staffcircle Recruitment, and the French Tourist Board covering SEO, PPC, web design, social media and PR.

Boxed Red marketing has worked with companies such as Barratt Homes, Redrow, and STA Travel.

Over the past 12 months, the company has expanded internationally, opening an office in Hamburg, Germany, as well as in Canada as well as new UK offices in York and Manchester. The 36-year-old, from Loughborough, said work began in his bedroom in 2015.

Unusual Group CEO Luke Tobin with Janna Caley of Boxed Red


The one-stop-shop sustainability platform was created to help Leicestershire companies reach Net Zero by 2030, well ahead of government targets.

Supported by Leicester Business Gateway and LLEP, it celebrated its launch in Leicester with an event at the National Space Center celebrating that 70 companies across Leicestershire are already green by joining Zellar.

They include NS Engineering, MWS Ltd, DPI (UK) Ltd, KS Composites, James Sellick, Countrywide, Boards4Agents, Three Point Design Ltd, Rosie Made a Thing Ltd, Pure Table Top, Northfield Farm Ltd, and R&T Ensor Ltd.

Zellar helps companies take advantage of the growing consumer demand for green business by making sustainability an accessible and affordable reality for small businesses. It offers the most efficient path to Net Zero, starting at £125 per year on a subscription basis.

Gary Styles is CEO and founder of Zellar

Take Me (Group) Limited and ADT Taxi

The owner of ADT Taxis for nearly two decades, David Hunter is CEO of Take Me (Group) Ltd, a local network of private rental and transportation companies.

Its mission is to build a synergistic group of taxi companies that can work hand in hand, increasing value and profits.

Take Me continues plans to expand nationwide, acquiring new companies to create a national infrastructure that draws on local expertise from well-established taxi companies. It has already acquired ADT Taxis, Steve’s Taxis, VGT Taxis, Westside Taxis, Intercity Private Hire, Tower Cabs and TC Cars.

ADT founders David Hunter (left) and Ashley Butcher
ADT founders David Hunter (left) and Ashley Butcher

UK Direct Flooring

The head of one of the fastest growing companies in the East Midlands has been named 2021 LeicestershireLive Business Executive of the Year.

Jason Ashby, founder of Hinckley-based UK Flooring Direct, took first prize at the black-tie celebration held at Leicester Tigers Welford Road.

Mr. Ashby has also been named Chief Executive Officer of a large company – beating out Brian Duffy, CEO of Switzerland Watches Group, and John Jorgensen, chief sales officer of Loughborough-based business software specialist Access Group.

Launched with a £299 website investment in 2005 UK Flooring Direct is now one of Britain’s largest online retailers of flooring and sells everything from laminate to laminate flooring, vinyl flooring and subfloors to the public and trade.

It is now expanding into rugs, and Ashby said he hopes to reach £1 billion in turnover in the coming years.

It has 12 percent of this category with B&Q taking 15 percent of the market share.

In October 2020, it acquired 54,000 square feet of the unit in Coventry to supplement its Hinckley headquarters, creating about 50 new jobs.

UK Flooring Direct was set up by CEO Jason Ashby in 2005 who had £299 to invest.

access group

Big things are happening at the global business software developer Access Group, which recently moved its headquarters to Leicestershire.

Speaking to BusinessLive recently, one of the men behind the tech company Unicorn, which was valued at £3 billion, said he expects to overtake Sage Group as the UK’s largest software company within two years.

John Jorgensen, chief sales officer at Access Group, said he believes it is on track to become the UK’s largest software company after it acquired 18 small businesses in its last financial year and is on track for a similar figure this year.

The business is in the process of hiring an additional 500 employees and has seen revenue increase 50 per cent in the past year to around £500m.

At the official opening of the group’s new global headquarters in Loughborough, Mr Jorgensen said they are already considering building a second building adjacent to it to make room for further growth.

Mr. Jorgenson was part of the original MBO for the Access Group.

Access Group CEO, Chris Pine, and Director of Sales John Jorgensen

cool as Leicester

Gabrielle Miller runs Cool Like Leicester, a highly-rated website with a strong social media presence that highlights the best places to eat, drink and party in Leicestershire.

It is now Leicestershire’s largest online magazine, home to Leicestershire’s only music guide, sponsored by PPL PRS, and is the region’s only weekly entertainment electronic news.

Followers can find out about hidden gems, exciting events and fun stories through his website, newsletter and social accounts.

Gabe comes out regularly and posts updates about new places, old pubs, bars, and restaurants across the county that people may not have heard of.

Here Instagram, Facebook and Twitter fans love her posts.

Gabe said she wanted to provide information about what’s happening in the city – where the idea for Cool As Leicester was born.

Finalist Gabi Miller of Cole as Leicester

Phoenix Labneh

In 2021 a Derbyshire construction worker who launched his own company after becoming redundant generated a landmark 10-year brand worth of £15 million in sales and job postings.

Christian Watson, who grew up and still lives in Bilber, has hired six new employees to grow his business, Phoenix Brickwork.

He also revealed his brick, scaffolding and drywall business plans to expand into London and key counties.

Mr Watson said: “I have worked on some fantastic projects such as St George’s Park in Burton on Trent, student housing at St Mark in Lincoln and Banbury Gateway Retail Park in Oxfordshire, but now is the time to expand and explore new projects across Greater London and the South East. .”

Christian Watson and Puff Pines at Phoenix Brickwork

Oh camp!

The couple, who have turned their passion for camping into a business hope, will benefit from British holiday demand as the lockdown is lifted.

Trudi and Adam Lilley launched a new mobile home rental company Hey Campers, in Colville, in the National Forest.

The pair have been camping for more than a decade, and have been cruising the highways for the past five years.

They discovered a business opportunity after renting their first motorhome when they weren’t using, and have since grown their fleet, with more vans planned.

The couple, who have run an accounting consulting firm together for the past seven years, have taken a new headquarters in northwest Leicestershire.

Trudy said: “There is a lot of uncertainty around travel and holiday restrictions at the moment, but it is understandable that people desperately need something to look forward to.

Trudi and Adam Lilley own a mobile home that they rent to Hey Campers

JB Kitchen

Foodies in and around Birstal, Leicestershire, have an attractive new option when it comes to dining out.

Food delivery company JB Kitchen recently opened its first restaurant in the village of Leicestershire, serving fresh, high-quality food using ingredients from local producers.

The new venue, on Lambourne Road, opened its doors to patrons at the beginning of December.

Lunch items such as mashed avocado, eggs, ham, duck eggs, potato chips, sweet potato, spinach and chorizo ​​hash are available for breakfast and lunch (12.15pm-4pm).

Other lunchtime options include mains such as smashburger and fries, corn venison tacos, curry cod, sandwiches with fillings including fish sticks, tartar, steak, onions and stiltons, and specials including festive afternoon tea, ploughmans and JB Kitchen’s Highly regarded as Wellington beef.

JB Kitchen was started during lockdown in April 2020, by professional chef Jordan Brady, who was fired from his position as executive chef at a local bar company.


Minibikers is an award winning national training course learning program for children aged 18 months to 10 years.

Entrepreneurs provide training directly to schools, community centers, and recreational centers.

He is also a beginner bike specialist that sells lightweight kids’ bikes and accessories nationwide.

Yassin and Kelly Emer founded the Leicester business in 2015.

Over the past year Minibikers has experienced exceptional sales growth and has expanded to Wales, Brighton, Nottingham, Rugby and Yorkshire.

She will continue to expand her training across the country in 2022 and is very proud to be part of the Accelerator led by NatWest Purpose.

Minibikers has won the Small Business Development and Development Award at the 2020/2021 LeicestershireLive Business Awards.


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