100 years of start-ups: How business ideas became billion pound empires

The world's largest brands - including Amazon, Tesco and Poundland - were all start-ups once. Track their inspiring journeys with this interactive timeline...

Who knows where starting a business might take you?

Brands such as IKEA, Amazon, and Tesco all started as new ideas or alternative ventures but, with hard work, business sense, and the right funding, they have all grown to become business giants – and it’s true that their companies weren’t always as glamorous as they now seem.

Startups Awards headline sponsor The Start Up Loans Company has taken a look back at where it all began for 10 of the world’s largest brands and produced an interactive timeline.

Featuring key turning points of the past 100 years that have shaped these brands to become the businesses we know today, the timeline offers up up number of little-known facts and details.

For example, did you know that:

  • Amstrad begun with a 17 year old Alan Sugar selling reconditioned TV’s from his home is Hackney, London?
  • Jaguar Land Rover started by selling motorbike side cars and now retails over half a million cars every year?
  • Tesco started off as a market stall in London’s East End 98 years ago and is now Britain’s biggest supermarket?

Prepare to be inspired on how once small business ideas have evolved into multi-billion pound empires by navigating the timeline below.

Hover over the icons to learn more and click the drop-down tab on the right-hand side to view a different brand’s story…


Action point:
See if you can get a Start Up Loan to help you start a business idea
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