Driving growth from a two-person team to a thriving 400-strong, £47m turnover business.
With more than 30 years of doing things differently in business, Lawrence Jones MBE is a truly unique and driven entrepreneur.
As UKFast CEO, Jones drives the sales and marketing functions whilst empowering teams across the business to continue UKFast’s phenomenal growth trajectory.
Having set up UKFast with cofounder and wife Gail in 1999, Jones has led the firm’s evolution from web development and outsourced dedicated servers to the cloud infrastructure and colocation provider it is today.
Jones’ passion for creativity can be seen throughout the extraordinary UKFast Campus. His design ideas continue to come to fruition through the firm’s construction arm, UKFast Space.
Starting his career playing piano in Manchester’s Midland Hotel, in true entrepreneurial style, Jones soon spun this into a business in its own right. This firm would be sold to Granada years later, where Jones spent time as a director before beginning his next business venture, UKFast.
This first step into the business arena taught Jones many valuable lessons, many that he continues to put into practice today.
In 2011, Jones spearheaded UKFast’s launch of its own wholly owned data centres. This removed the binds of supplier price changes and service SLAs, putting control back into the hands of UKFast. Now the firm proudly wholly owns and operates four custom-designed data centres, including a specialist government data centre hall, with a fifth under construction.
Along the UKFast journey, Jones has also spun off and acquired a number of businesses, now running a portfolio which includes a Swiss ski hotel, a cybersecurity firm, a construction business and a head-hunting company, all supplementing the day-to-day running of UKFast in some way.
Alongside his entrepreneurial pursuits, Jones is a keen philanthropist. This focus has seen him transform the lives of thousands of people by helping to raise millions of pounds, donating his time and that of his team, and investing heavily in education and development.
Never one to sit on the sidelines, when Jones recognised the threat of a growing technical skills gap, he committed to transforming technical education and redressing the gender gap in tech. UKFast now works with more than 60,000 pupils across 50 schools and universities in Greater Manchester and beyond. The government has also approved the development of a new high school led by UKFast and the Dean Trust, focussed on combining digital skills with traditional education.
Jones shares the lessons he’s learned along the way through his blog which receives more than 200,000 visitors a month, and his top ten business podcast on iTunes, Mind Your Own Business.
Jones has received a number of business awards throughout his career in recognition of his unique approach to growing UKFast. In 2015, Lawrence Jones was awarded an MBE by the Queen for services to the digital economy.
Find out more about Lawrence Jones, www.lawrencejones.co.uk