Have you ever spotted one of the following logos on a company website or brochure and wondered what they meant?
The answer is that each represents inclusion in one of a series of prestigious business league tables.
The Fast Track 100 has been described by Sir Richard Branson as, “…the definitive barometer of growth companies.” It is produced by Fast Track, a research and events company based in Oxfordshire. Hamish Stevenson, CEO, started producing the original Fast Track 100 league table of the fastest-growing firms in the UK since 1997. Published in The Sunday Times newspaper and sponsored by Virgin, it listed companies that were demonstrably the fastest growing, based on their financial performance over a three-year period. Since then, what was one league table has become seven, separating out different categories like the technology sector, international sales, SME exports, profits and more.
“Fast Track has become the definitive
barometer of growth companies"
Sir Richard Branson
Over the years, the league tables have successfully identified a number of household names before they became such, including Carphone Warehouse and Travelex. In fact, the very first Fast Track league table highlighted a company called ARM Holdings, which had achieved £17m in sales at the time – the company recently sold to SoftBank for £24.4bn.
Funded entirely by corporate sponsorship, there is no cost of inclusion in any of the league tables and the networking opportunities provided are unparalleled. Aside from the press coverage and other positive business exposure offered by appearing in the league tables; the founders and directors of successful companies are invited to attend exclusive networking events, award ceremonies and alumni dinners, where they can make vital contacts to continue their business growth and hear from prominent business leaders and heads of industry, as well as politicians extending all the way to the Prime Minister.
Fast Track leagues
Fast Track 100
The Fast Track 100 league table ranks 100 private British companies with the fastest-growing sales over three years. The league tables are published in The Sunday Times each December, with an awards event the following May, and alumni dinners during the year.
Tech Track 100
The Tech Track 100 league table ranks 100 private British tech (TMT) companies with the fastest-growing sales over three years. The league is published in The Sunday Times every September, with an awards dinner in November, and alumni dinners during the year.
SME Export Track 100
The SME Export Track 100 ranks Britain’s 100 small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) with the fastest-growing international sales over the past two years. The league table is published in The Sunday Times each February, with an awards dinner for successful companies in May.
International Track 200
The International Track 200 ranks private British mid-market companies with the fastest-growing international sales, measured over two years. The league table is published in The Sunday Times every June, with an awards event in September, and alumni dinners during the year.
Profit Track 100
The Profit Track 100 league table ranks 100 private British companies with the fastest-growing profits over three years. The league table is published as a supplement in The Sunday Times every April, with a national awards event in June, and alumni dinners throughout the year.
Top Track 100
The Top Track 100 league table ranks 100 private British companies with the biggest sales. The table is published in The Sunday Times every July, with a series of associated dinners in the autumn of the same year.
Top Track 250
The Top Track 250 league table ranks private British mid-market growth companies with the biggest sales. The table is published in The Sunday Times every October, with an awards event in November, and alumni dinners during the year.
The Fast Track 100 and Tech Track 100 also produce a list of ‘Ones to Watch’ – ten companies whose sales growth falls just short of the main league table, but who are set to grow rapidly in the future. This has helped to identify companies that might have slipped the net, due to the tables being based on financial information published in the public domain, which can be up to 10 months out of date.
Another new addition to the Fast Track 100 league is the Disruptor 10 shortlist, which consists of 10 ‘disruptor’ private companies, with a business model, product or service that has created a new market or transformed existing markets and quickly gained market share from competitors. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this year’s winner was Blockchain, known for Bitcoin, which has completely transformed the financial landscape over the past few years.