Smith & Williamson Scale Up Business of the Year

Winner: Imperial Cars

A USED CAR sales company which had found an extra gear over the last year was the winner of the Smith & Williamson Scale Up Business of the Year.

Millbrook-based Imperial Cars used car supermarket specialising in premium, nearly-new high-spec cars such as BMW and Mercedes.

Over the last 12 months it has opened six new sites – doubling its number of outlets.

The firm opened first branch in Swanwick in 2008 and operations director Neil Smith said that within two years it was selling1,000 cars a year and turning over £17 million per year.

Now Imperial sell more than 1,200 cars a month and has an annual turnover of £200 million. The firm, which currently employs 340 staff, aims to have 20 sites by 2020.

Neil said Imperial had been able to expand rapidly by targetting well-located former main dealer sites, vacated by the likes of Honda, Audi and JLR.

“The sites are all set up all we have to do is ‘drop in’ our IT and signage and we can open in two weeks.”

Imperial s set to open its latest site, in Loughborough, in three weeks’ time.

Paul Duckworth of sponsors Smith Williamson quoted Hogwarts head wizard Dumbledore when he came to sum up qualities of the shortlisted entrants. “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.

“All have made great choices and it was really close but the winner came with Usain Bolt like dip and a fantastic set of financial results to take it on the line."

The judges said: “Imperial Cars has consistently maintained significant growth with new sites, increased staff numbers and by investment in technology. They are forward thinking and looking to revolutionise the way we buy cars on the high street. Their increase in scale is driven by management actively engaging with all staff.”

Runners up


Brymor Construction Ltd is a local, family owned, diverse and respected construction partner.

The company has the expertise, experience and capability to deliver projects in all sectors ranging from £25k to £20m.

Since its foundation 1987 the company has remained true to its vision and values, firmly believing people are the most important asset to the business.

Building long-term relationships with customers, staff and supply chain partners based on trust, honesty and integrity and delivering on commitments is an approach which Brymmor attributes as a major reason for its sustained growth and success.


The Natural Travel Collection is a privately owned award-winning travel company, consisting of the following specialist brands: Wildlife Worldwide, The Travelling Naturalist, Dive Worldwide, Families Worldwide, Schools Worldwide and Walks Worldwide.

The company is owned and managed by directors Chris Breen, Teresa Bennett and Nick Joynes, who have worked together for many years and are passionate about the sustainable and ethical foundation that underpins every brand and is at the heart of the company values. Each brand has expert teams – everyone is knowledgeable and highly experienced in their roles. The teams are passionate about travel and meticulously create exceptional holidays and experiences.


Highfield Professional Solutions is proud to create infrastructure for future generations. As technical recruitment experts, its core values of absolute professionalism, integrity and expertise are deeply ingrained in our culture. Highfield has a passion for being an outstanding place to work.

Highfield is well established as one of the most innovative and high growth technical recruitment businesses in the UK. The company is proud that all profits are invested to fund organic growth. This is going to be a big part of 2018 for Highfield as it has secured a larger office in Durley to ensure continued growth.