Martin Jones: Freedom Direct

Focus: Travel agency

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Martin Jones
Company: Freedom Direct

Jones only worked for his parents’ travel business because a job at the local DSS fell through at the last minute. He oversaw its sale to a Bank of Scotland-headed consortium three years later after he’d worked his way up from an admin clerk on £6,000 a year. Unfortunately for him he was not a beneficiary and with no income he threw caution to the wind and decided to start his own independent leisure travel agency in his home city, Newcastle. He convinced the bank to give him a £100,000 loan by saying he’d generate £40m in five years. Six years later Freedom Direct has a turnover of £42m and 165 staff.

2016 update: 

In 2009, Freedom Direct became a victim of the recession, went bust and ceased trading, resulting in the loss of 109 jobs. Jones said customers who had booked holidays with the company would be protected by the Atol scheme.


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