Bob & Berts named among the UK’s 100 fastest growing founder-led private companies

Bob & Berts' co-founders, David Ferguson (left) and Colin McClean (right).
Bob & Berts' co-founders, David Ferguson (left) and Colin McClean (right). Bob & Berts' co-founders, David Ferguson (left) and Colin McClean (right).

COFFEE chain Bob & Berts has been named among the UK’s 100 fastest growing founder-led private companies.

The business, which opened its first coffee shop in Portstewart in 2013, has been included in the FEBE Growth 100 list.

The annual index identifies the fastest-growing privately owned businesses around the UK where the founder or founders are still involved.

FEBE (For Entrepreneurs, By Entrepreneurs) is a club set up to support and celebrate entrepreneurs.

Bob & Berts is the only company from Northern Ireland included on the 2023 list.

To be on the list, businesses must be UK registered, independent and unquoted. To qualify, firms must have sales of between £3 million and £200m; be trading for at least three years; report an operating profit in the latest financial year; and the founders must still be involved.

Although the coffee company has received substantial financial backing following BGF’s buy-in during 2017, its original founders Colin McClean and David Ferguson, remain central figures in the business.

The latest set of accounts published by Bob & Berts show it recorded a 58 per cent increase in sales to £17.75m for the year ending June 30 2022.

Since BGF’s investment, Bob & Berts has continued to expand rapidly, opening coffee shops in both England and Scotland.

Alongside its 15 locations in Northern Ireland, the company has six sites in Scotland and will soon grow to seven in England.

The company is planning to add further sites in England and Scotland this year, taking it to 32 outlets.

FEBE’s annual list is dominated by English businesses, with London accounting for 26 entries alone.

Scotland has nine entries, Wales three and Northern Ireland just one.

FEBE said the ultimate ranking of 100 was data-driven, with companies ordered by compound annual growth rate in sales over the last three financial years.

Businesses were initially selected by either nominating themselves or through FEBE contacting them directly, as well as by accessing publicly available financial information.

The top ten fastest-growing companies in 2023 are: LS Productions (Edinburgh); Au Vodka (Wales); Passenger Clothing (New Forest); Creation, Golf Travel Group, 3S Money, Gift & Go (London); ISA Support Services (Birmingham); Bold Security Group (Essex) and Powersheds (Bradford).

The full 100 ranking can be viewed at

FEBE founder Charlotte Quince, said: “So many people think that business founders just ‘get lucky’ or think of an idea one day and are successful the next.

“But we know that the journey to success is anything but smooth.

“The Growth 100 celebrates those who have embraced the entrepreneurial roller coaster and who are now thriving as some of the fastest growing brands in the country.