At just 39 years of age, Denys Shortt, founder of Enable and parent group DCS Europe plc, has been ranked 10th in the first ever Top 100 Entrepreneurs list compiled by Britain’s leading business magazine, Management Today. He is the youngest person in the Top 10.
As true heroes of the British economy, Britain’s entrepreneurs create thousands of new jobs and have helped to fund the huge increase in public spending over the past five years.
Stratford based Denys Shortt formed his company DCS Europe in 1994 whilst working for his family’s business Shakespeare Products. He quickly built the company into a leading distributor of health and beauty products. Beyond the distribution business he also developed a range of health and beauty brands called En-liven, En-visage and En-essence, which sell in Makro, Bewise and TM Retail Stores in the UK. DCS exports En brands to more than 65 countries around the world through its export division exportbrands.com.
After finding that internet solutions for his online sales growth were expensive and poor quality, Shortt moved into the field of web software and developed his own software company, Enable. Little wonder that over the past nine years sales at DCS have zoomed from zero to £72 million, making it one of the fastest growing firms in sales terms in MT’s Top 100.
Despite its phenomenal growth Shortt still regards DCS Europe as a family business and finds that as a result his staff range in age from 17 to 75. DCS employs 100 people—Enable employs 18 people.
"Each of the individuals on MT’s Top 100 Entrepreneurs List are the greenhouse of our economy, nurturing the seeds of business that may grow into the multinationals of tomorrow. Denys Shortt encapsulates the true spirit of entrepreneurship. He can see a gap in the market, he’s prepared to take a risk and he works hard to achieve his goals. I think we’re going to see a lot more of Shortt in the future," comments MT editor, Matthew Gwyther.
Shortt is man driven to succeed in every area of his life. He’s represented England in Hockey—a sport that still remains close to his heart as he now coaches at Cheltenham College School and plays for Lansdown Hockey Club. When not in hockey boots he’s in a helicopter, competing regularly in the British Helicopter Championships.
(Denys comments, "I am thrilled to be in the Top 100. I have a great team but am never satisfied with my business or any other I look at—there is always more that can be done. Enthusiasm for growth and energy for improvement and innovation, that’s what entrepreneurship is all about and the Top 100 certainly helps that process along.")
Notes to editors:
Rules for Top 100
- Covers three or four years of accounts rather than the standard five.
- Wealth valuations are drawn from share prices as listed in the Financial Times in late October 2003, or latest accounts available for private companies and the appropriate price/earnings multiple used (usually about 10-12).
- The entrepreneurs are ranked by taking into account the sum total of their ranking on wealth (1-100), the ranking of the percentage rises in turnover (also 1-100), and the ranking for numbers of employees. The lowest score wins, and is meant to reflect how well the entrepreneur is doing him or herself (his/her own stake in the company), how well that company has performed (turnover growth) and what it is doing for the community (in terms of jobs growth). Relying on the percentage growth for turnover and employment creates a more level playing field for small and large companies.
- Family stakes, those in trust or held by offspring are agglomerated under the entrepreneur’s name. For brevity’s sake, we dispense with the term ’and family’.
- We have relied on the latest accounts filed at Companies House before the end of October 2003. Later accounts will be reflected in next year’s list.
- To enter the top 100, entrepreneurs must either have started a business or inherited it and built it to much greater success. We also include those who have bought an ailing concern and turned it around.
- As a deliberate attempt to find the newer blood among the UK’s entrepreneurs, few companies with a turnover of more than £100 million are listed, and we have tried to impose a cut-off of £150 million.
- Matthew Gwyther, editor of Management Today, will be available for interview.
- Selected members of the list are available for interview and this can be arranged with Colman Getty PR on request.
- ’Enterprise Nation’ is published in the January issue of Management Today, Britain’s leading business magazine, out on Monday 29 December 2003, price £3.80.