Denys Shortt, entrepreneur and founder of Enable in Stratford-upon-Avon, has been awarded an OBE in the New Year’s honours list for services to the economy.
Denys, known for his endless energy and enthusiasm, started his first business DCS Group in 1994. His company DCS is now the UK’s leading distributor of health, beauty and household brands with sales of £150 million and 250 employees. Denys has also created two technology companies: Enable and DealTrack which employ 30 people.
Denys has created the Enliven brand — a range of health and beauty products which are made in England and where millions of bottles are exported to 70 countries worldwide. He recently invested over £4 million into a new toiletries factory in Stratford-upon-Avon with the aim to help revive British Manufacturing.
In his younger days Denys had a very different career in mind. After attending Eagle House School, it was at Warwick School at age 15 where he was selected to play hockey for England.
Denys believes his drive and determination comes from his younger days playing international hockey. His aim was to follow a career in sport and he decided not to attend university but instead work for his father, a former tea planter in Assam, who in the ’80s was manufacturing and selling tea under the Shakespeare brand in Henley-in-Arden. Denys’ focus quickly moved to business as he honed his skills in sales and finance. In his late 20s he started DCS, named after his initials.
Aside from running his business Denys is very active in local and national community organisations as well as advising other businesses.
In December 2010 he was appointed Chairman of the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. He led the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP to national recognition with several successes. He also arranged and was Chair of the first National LEP Conference with Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and members of the Cabinet.
At a local level in Stratford-upon-Avon Denys has formed Stratford Vision — a group focussed on improving the local economy and creating a jobs and growth plan for Shakespeare’s home town for the next 20 years.
Denys is currently on the Board of Warwick Business School and advises at the Royal Agricultural College on entrepreneurship. He is a former Governor of Cheltenham College.
Denys donates considerable time as well as funding to his local Stratford community, supporting the Shakespeare Hospice, Orchestra of the Swan and the Pride of Stratford Awards. He is also a Director and the main sponsor of Stratford Town Football Club where he has recently started a Junior Academy. In hockey Denys supports Great Britain as well as the new National Hockey Museum.
Denys lives in the Cotswolds and in his spare time he runs a farm breeding pedigree belted Galloway cattle. Aside from farming his passion is flying — he has been a helicopter pilot for 14 years.
Stratford-upon-Avon MP Nadhim Zahawi congratulated Denys on his honour, "Denys is one of our country’s great entrepreneurs. He’s an unstoppable force who has built not just a fantastic global business right here in Stratford-upon-Avon, but also been a major driving force behind the success of Local Enterprise Partnerships both in Coventry and Warwickshire and nationally. The country needs more people like Denys and I’m delighted his efforts have been rewarded."
On being included in the New Year’s honours list, Denys said, "I am absolutely delighted and proud to receive this honour. Britain is a great place to build a business and I am delighted that entrepreneurship is recognised within the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list."