TOP 100: From Worksop garage to US global giant

Emma de Sousa Insight Direct UK managing director
Emma de Sousa Insight Direct UK managing director
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It started out in a garage in Worksop in 1988. Today Insight Direct is the ninth biggest company in Sheffield City Region.

Tim and Eric Crown launched Hard Drives International with a cash advance from a credit card. That company was bought by US firm Insight Direct in 2000 and it has grown rapidly since. Last year was its best year of trading.

Today it employs more than 800 and UK headquarters are on Terry Street, Attercliffe. It also has a distribution centre on the Parkway in Sheffield as well as offices in Manchester and Uxbridge. Turnover is £470million and pre-tax profits are £4.5m.

Sheffield-born Emma de Sousa is the UK and Ireland managing director.

The firm sells hardware, software and IT systems to businesses and the public sector, including Sheffield City Council.

Emma said key to their success was the expertise it offers to go with it, including support contracts lasting for years: “We are a trusted strategic advisor. Our approach is consultancy-led and not purely on the provision of kit. We invest heavily in our people and have a learning culture so they can have business-led conversations with our clients.”

The firm spends a lot of time comparing benefits packages with rivals to make sure it is competitive, she added.

SIG is Sheffield’s most profitable company - it made £39m - and the largest in the region for the 13th year with £2.63bn turnover.

Big names including Henry Boot, law firm Irwin Mitchell, affordable housebuilder MJ Gleeson and medical devices company B.Braun are all present.

Outokumpu Stainless rose one place to seventh on £11.8m pre-tax profits after losing £11m the year before.

SHEFFIELD - pre-tax profit

1 1 SIG PLC 39,000

24 23 Henry Boot PLC 28,312

16 18 Irwin Mitchell LLP 21,929

29 - MJ Gleeson PLC 17,263

7 8 Outokumpu Stainless Limited 11,800

31 33 Schaeffler 11,627

89 87 Transaction Network Services 10,716

80 95 Servelec Group PLC 10,590

27 30 B. Braun Medical Limited 10,212

75 67 J G Pears (Holdings) Limited 10,085

40 39 GRI Group Limited 7,219

77 68 Special Steel Co.,Limited 5,879

9 10 Insight Direct (UK) Ltd 4,539

73 63 James Durrans & Sons 3,921

37 34 LUK (UK) Limited 3,758

Total 196,850