Manchester-based Scott Jonathan Fletcher, 40 years, has been named MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Scott is one of the country’s leading entrepreneurs, heading up companies with a total valuation in excess of £100m with 400 staff based in Manchester, London and internationally. Scott’s primary business, ANS Group, has over 600 customers nationwide and is now one of Europe’s foremost IT companies.
Scott founded what is now his largest business, ANS, from his back bedroom in 1996 at the young age of 22. ANS was one of the UK’s early movers in cloud computing – the technology that allows firms to host and access some of their IT systems. Scott has overseen the growth of ANS since its inception, including floating on PLUS markets. The company now has a turnover of £50m and healthy net profit margins of approximately 10%.
Scott says, ‘When I was 22 years old, I had a vision to change the face of technology. With the World Wide Web taking shape, I knew I could offer something to businesses across the UK and abroad. So from my back bedroom in Droylsden I started my own business, ANS.’
By 1996 Scott, then just 22, had already seen two of his employers go bust. But he wasn’t bitter. ‘Both companies gave me great experience. I saw first hand how not to run a business’. In particular, he learned the importance of cash flow.
‘They were good firms and with a bit more financial expertise they could have done well.’ By keeping a tight grip on cash Scott managed to succeed where his two previous employers had failed. The economy had picked up steam by 1996 and the arrival of the Internet meant clients had to overhaul their IT infrastructure. By the end of the first year sales had reached £300,000.
The secret of his success?
Scott says, ‘When it comes to running a business, I always do things the traditional way – putting cash flow and profit before top line growth. As Chairman of ANS, I always look for potential and profitable investment and I always find ways of getting involved with start-up companies.’
Scott has invested in a multitude of other businesses including Prymo, Wakelet, the UK Bond Network, crowd funded finance and Cloudsmart, a managed print and cloud-based postal system. Fletcher is also Chairman and lead investor in Godel Technologies and is currently looking at investments in People Experts, a HR and recruitment consultancy and Westlab, a salt distributor.
The multi-award winning serial entrepreneur is truly honoured to be awarded a MBE. He says, ‘I feel incredibly privileged to be given this honour. This isn’t just an award for me but for the people around me, without whom I could never have achieved what I have.’
No stranger to awards, Scott has been named Entrepreneur of the Year for the North West at the National Business Awards, IOD Young Director of the Year and The PLUS Markets Chairman of the Year. Last year he was named Chairman of the Year at the Manchester Evening News Business Awards.
Scott is passionate about entrepreneurship and the incredible opportunities available for young people.
‘This is an exciting time for young people in the UK. With a declining unemployment rate and the economy strengthening again, what better time is there for young people to make their dreams a reality?’
He believes youth employment and training is critical to accelerate the success of young people. ‘One of my biggest passions is youth employment and training. I see that the education system is well behind when it comes to teaching young people ICT. It isn’t their fault entirely, but it is because technology is advancing so fast, universities and schools simply cannot keep up.’
Scott is passionate about young people and enterprise. He says, ‘I have a passion for enterprise and I have always encouraged young people to start up businesses in fields they feel most passionate about. From a young age, I did anything to gain a bit of profit. I sold cockles and whelks in the East of Manchester and I even appeared on TV shows like Jossy’s Giants. I never went to University, but I certainly made sure my 5 years after school didn’t go to waste starting an apprenticeship (known as a YTS in those days) at the age of 17’.
The skills gap in the Tech industry is of particular concern to Scott. This is why ANS last year launched the ANS Academy, which provides opportunities for young people in Manchester to begin a career in the IT industry. Over 30 young people have so far joined the Academy. Upon graduation they will look to potential employment with ANS.
Scott has become a key backer of a drive to encourage more women into the Tech industry. Currently women only make up 17% of Tech jobs. ‘In our Cloud Academy, only 2 of our 30 recruits are women. More needs to be done to encourage women to get involved in the tech sector and pursue a career in the field. The idea that IT is a ‘boys subject’ is outdated and needs to be changed.’
Scott has been highly active in the Manchester community for years. He has served on the board of FC United of Manchester and the Manchester Academy, and currently sits on the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership.
He has also donated significant sums of money to The Prince’s Trust, Caudwell Children, New East Manchester Enterprise and The Manchester Children’s Hospital, and he recently completed the grueling Coast to Coast Challenge. In April 2009, Scott was lauded for intervening to save an artist’s home from repossession, offering to pay the outstanding and future mortgage payments.