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Our March Masterclass in Sheffield was delivered by probably Sheffield’s most famous entrepreneur Hugh Facey of Gripple. Hugh took us through his A-Z of how to do it, i.e build a big business.


Hugh working life started at Tinsley Wire where he worked his way up to Group Sales and Marketing Director. He left Tinsley in 1984 to set up his own wire agricultural fencing manufacturing business which he grew to sales of £20m before he sold it in 1992. The proceeds were used to expand Gripple which 25+ years is a global business with exports to over 80 countries and sales in excess of £60m.


Accountancy – Have 6 week long financial periods instead of monthly ones so the length of each period is the same – I’m not sure I completely understand this point

Buyers – Don’t have them, Trust those needing a product or service to buy.

Challenge – People all the time. And give 1% of profit to charity

Dreams – Plan your long term future

Export – Do it

Fun – Vital that everybody enjoys coming to work

Grants – Get them whenever you can. Without them Gripple would not be the company it is today

H&S – No H&S ctee waffling on, everyone is responsible for H&S

Innovation – The life blood of any business

Job descriptions – Nobody has one nor any KPIs

Kyzan – 8 pa looking at different aspects of the business

Loyalty – Impossible to buy it. Have rooms with as much light. Plan long term

Money – Never the reason for being in business, its just a recognition of success

Never give up

Openness – Be open and honest with your staff, customers and suppliers.

People – Offer free training and support all the time

Quality – Top quality is our by-word

Rewards – No bonuses or commissions

Shares – see below about Glide

Trust – You must earn the trust of your staff, customers and suppliers.

Unconventional – There is always a better, different way

Values – Are reflected in Glide

Win – Win

Yorkshire is best

Zero hour

Growth Led Innovation Driven Employee Company Limited – GLIDE

Glide is a company limited by guarantee (like most sporting clubs) which “owns” the shares Gripple, Loadhog and the other trading entities.

After one year each new employee must buy at least £1000 worth of shares in the company that he/she works for; the company will lend the employee which will be deducted from his salary every month.

Depending on the net profits every year, each member (employee) gets a dividend.

There is a fund created by Hugh Facey and his business partner Roger Hall providing a market for the sale and purchase of these shares.

Every employee also has a share in Glide so has a say in the overall conduct of the group.

Nick Butler